All-Star Closer Takes Next Huge Step Towards Return

He was declared cancer-free last week. Now, three-time All-Star closer Liam Hendriks is ready to take the next giant step towards returning to the mound for the Chicago White Sox, as he is officially set to begin a minor league rehab assignment. 

“He should be back here in the near future,” manager Pedro Grifol said. He estimated that Hendriks should get into "4 or 5" games, beginning this weekend, before he's ready for big league action once again. 

“I saw him, and I was like, ‘Thank you, God, for pulling him and his family through this,’’’ added Grifol. “This is a life matter. This isn’t a baseball thing. Just watching him be healthy and strong and a smile on his face and be here where he loves to be, it just makes anybody’s day.”

Hendriks led the AL in saves in 2021, with 38, and followed that up with another 37 last season. He has a 2.26 ERA in his last four seasons, while striking out 13.5 batters per nine. 

Stats aside, it's going to be an emotional and heartwarming day to see him back on the mound for the ChiSox. The much-beloved 34-year-old battled, and conquered, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma over the past several months. 

 Photo: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports