After battling cancer, Chicago White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks returned to the game on Monday night.
After receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hendriks made an emotional return in the first inning of the White Sox’s eventual 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Hendriks was greeted with rapturous applause when it was announced over the loudspeakers that he was warming up in the bullpen. When he finally made his way onto the Guaranteed Rate Field, the audience stood to greet the 34-year-old player.
“No doubt, it was incredible being back out there,” expressed Hendriks during his postgame public interview. ” returning, putting on cleats, sprinting out, and doing all of that. I felt healthy, strong, and at ease out there.
“Tragically for me, I couldn’t get the two-strike pitch where I needed to. Generally, it was get ahead and then struggle to eliminate them. From a baseball standpoint, there were some positives, but there were definitely some areas for improvement. Get back, be accessible and be all set tomorrow.”
The diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that Hendriks received in December was made public in January.
While undergoing chemotherapy, he was able to play toss and throw some bullpens in Arizona. He also made six rehabilitation appearances for the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox’s Minor League Baseball affiliate.
Finally, on Monday, the White Sox released Hendriks from a rehab assignment for his injury, allowing him to resume playing Major League Baseball.
“Again, this is more important than baseball, isn’t it?” Pedro Grifol, manager of the White Sox, stated, This is about life, the diagnosis, his recovery, and his strategy. And how good he was before it, as well as how good he will be after it.
“This is only greater than the actual game. What he’s finished and the way that he’s done it has been astounding. It is an inspiration to all members of this club, as well as to those who follow the game and are familiar with Liam.
Hendriks was given some time at the mound to take it all in as he took the field against the Angels, where players, fans, and officials all stood to welcome him back.
Mike Trout and Zach Neto scored on his 27 pitches, which he threw. He eventually obtained a groundout from Shohei Ohtani to end the inning.
The only thing I kept saying to him all the time was, Do you realize how much I love you? Hendriks’ better half, Kristi, said during her Monday media meeting. “‘ Fans, teammates, the community, Chicago, and the cities you played for in the past all love you. All of them are behind you.'”