There’s no sugar coating it: cancer is a scary and horrible disease. And earlier this year, one member of the White Sox family received the life-changing diagnosis.
Many of you likely know who, and if you don’t, it was southside pitcher Liam Hendriks. On January 8, the White Sox All-Star reliever announced that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and that he was to begin treatment immediately.
No one could speculate what it might look like for Liam Hendriks return to baseball. And, quite frankly, the only thing that mattered at that point was Liam’s health. We all know Hendriks for being the game-changing fighter on the pitching mound that he is. As awful as his diagnosis was, one thing became very clear: cancer was going to be the underdog in this battle.
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Hendriks Shuts-Out Cancer
Like we said, Hendriks is a fighter. On April 5, not four months after his diagnosis, and barely a week after Opening Day for the MLB, he announced to all of us hopeful fans that he had completed his final round of chemotherapy on his Instagram.
By the time April 20 rolled around, he let the world know he was officially cancer free. So what was next for Hendriks? A return to the diamond, that’s what!
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Liam Hendriks Return To Baseball
No, Liam Hendriks return to baseball didn’t immediately follow his cancer free announcement. How could it? The man had just gone through what we can only imagine were four challenging months of chemotherapy treatments. Treatments that surely tested him physically and mentally. That being said, Liam Hendriks return to the mound happened a lot quicker than we imagined.
On Memorial Day, Hendriks took to the field for the first time this season. It happened during the 8th inning of a home game against the Angels. Despite giving up two runs which ultimately contributed to a Sox 6-4 loss, the moment was special for Hendriks, his family, teammates, and all of us fans.
While he would probably tell you he’s still working his way back to 100%, Liam Hendriks return to the active roster should be a positive point for the White Sox to build on as they reach a critical point in their season. He is a three-time MLB All-Star after all. Plus, two of those honors came in Hendriks previous two season with the Sox.
Last Sunday’s during Nation Cancer Survivors Day should serve as more of an inspiration to the team. Heading into the ninth inning of a tied, 2-2 ballgame, Hendriks took the mound yet again for the good guys. He wouldn’t be there too long after only facing three batters while striking out two in the process. Thanks to a little walk-off grand slam magic, Hendriks earned his first baseball victory of the MLB season to pair up nicely with his victory over cancer earlier this spring.
With plenty of baseball left on the schedule, we can’t wait to watch Liam Hendriks return to the win column more and more as the season goes on as he looks to help the organization climb back up the AL Central standings!
Featured image credit: Chicago White Sox on Instagram