‘Struck out cancer’: White Sox’s Liam Hendriks makes first post-illness public appearance

Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since recording the biggest strikeout of his career — defeating Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Hendriks appeared in Chicago before the team’s game against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday wearing a shirt that said “Struck Out Cancer” as several teammates showed up to support the Australian left-hander.

Hendriks also revealed that he first noticed lumps in his neck in June 2022 and later found lumps in his hips as well, but got a clean blood test initially. However, he said the lumps came with fatigue and struggles with recovering after relief appearances or when attempting to pitch multiple innings.

“There’s no way to put a real timeline on it,” Hendriks said, per NBC Sports Chicago. “But if I had the ones in my neck in June and the ones in my hips were bigger, there was always the chance that I pitched damn near all year last year with lymphoma in my system.”

Hendriks made his third career All-Star team in 2022 but struggled towards the end of the season.

Jameson Taillon, a pitcher for the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs and a cancer survivor himself, also shouted Hendriks out on Twitter Wednesday. Hendriks credited a message from Taillon as one of the most encouraging he received throughout his treatment process.

“The biggest message I got — and I want to read it out because I don’t want to get it wrong — was from Jameson Taillon,” Hendriks said. “And his was, ‘It’s your journey. Nobody can tell you what to feel or what to do baseball-wise. Do whatever you feel is right.'”

Hendriks first revealed his cancer on social media on Jan. 8, roughly a month after he received his diagnosis. He announced through the White Sox on April 3, just before the team’s home opener, that his treatment was going very well and he was beginning his final round of chemotherapy that day. On April 20, Hendriks and the team announced he was cancer-free.

Hendriks spent the past several days rehabbing at the White Sox’s Spring Training facility in Arizona, appearing in some minor-league games, and said Wednesday he expects to start an official minor-league rehab assignment soon before returning to the team’s active roster.

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Liam Hendriks

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