Hendriks announced in January that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and promptly began undergoing treatment. In April, not long after completing his chemotherapy, Hendriks was declared to be in remission and cancer-free. The next step was his return to the White Sox clubhouse and a minor league rehab assignment. The journey reached the next step against the Angels on Monday (LAA 6, CHW 4), when Hendriks took the mound:
And then pumped his first pitch in for a called strike to the delight of everyone in attendance:
Hendriks pitched one inning, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk. Results, of course, are secondary to the much more essential fact that Hendriks has beaten cancer and made it back to a big-league mound. Some struggles can be expected as he works to get back into form.
Hendriks, 34, is a three-time All-Star who finished ninth in Cy Young voting in 2020 and eighth in 2021. He won the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year award in both of those seasons. Last year, Hendriks closed 37 of his 41 save chances and pitched to a 2.81 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 85 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings. He’s in the final year of a three-year pact with the White Sox, and the team holds an option on him for 2024.