White Sox closer Liam Hendriks announces he has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks announced on Instagram that he recently was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and will begin treatment Monday.

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White Sox closer Liam Hendriks shared Sunday that he has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system. 

“Hearing the word ‘Cancer’ came as a shock to my wife and I, as it does to millions of families each year,” Hendriks posted on Instagram. “However, I am resolved to embrace the fight and overcome this new challenge with the same determination I have used when facing other obstacles in my life.”

Hendriks is scheduled to begin treatment Monday. He wrote that he chose to publicly share the personal news, on his own terms, in the spirit of using his platform for good.

“As a professional athlete,” he said, “I have always been mindful to try and use my position in the public eye to the most positive ends possible by shining a light on causes or issues that touch close to him for myself, my wife and my family.”

Hendriks has been the White Sox nominee for the Roberto Clemente award —  which honors community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions on and off the field — every year since signing with the club in 2021. 

Hendriks, who started the South Slydah Society when he signed with the Sox, has lent support to frontline workers, local and family-owned businesses, hospitals and veterans. He has been outspoken about gun violence, LGBTQ+ rights and social justice.

Now, he’s opening up about his fight with cancer. 

Hendriks wrapped up his Instagram post by writing: “I am confident that I will make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible. I know with the support of my wife, my family, my teammates and the Chicago White Sox organization, along with the treatment and care from my doctors, I will get through this.”

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn echoed Hendriks’ optimism about pitching again, in Hahn’s words, “as soon as viable.” But in a statement, Hahn emphasized that the organization’s focus right now is on “Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player.” 

Said Hahn: “I know the entire Chicago White Sox organization, our staff, his teammates, and certainly White Sox fans, will rally in support of Liam and [wife] Kristi during the coming months.”

The team doesn’t expect to have any updates on Hendriks’ health before Opening Day, at the earliest. 

The White Sox have depth at the back end of the bullpen that they can lean on in Hendriks’ absence. Right-hander Kendall Graveman has served as a setup man for the last 1½ years — first with the Astros from the 2021 trade deadline to the World Series and then with the White Sox last season. Before that, he was the Mariners’ closer.

The White Sox also still have time before spring training to add to the bullpen if they choose to do so.

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