Chicago White Sox All-Star closer Liam Hendriks announced Sunday in an emotional Instagram post that he has cancer and will begin treatment immediately in hopes of returning to the mound.
Hendriks, who saved 37 games with a 2.81 earned run average last season, a year after leading the American League with 38 saves, vowed to beat the disease. The type of cancer he has, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, has a 70% rate of survival beyond five years.
“Hearing the word ‘Cancer’ came as a shock to my wife and I, as it does to millions of families each year,” Hendriks wrote in the post. “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, 33, is a 12-year veteran of the big leagues and has played for five different teams. He is one of the team’s leaders and has long been active in community and charitable causes.
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“Our thoughts and reactions at this time are for Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player,” White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “I know the entire Chicago White Sox organization, our staff, his teammates, and certainly White Sox fans, will rally in support of Liam and Kristi during the coming months.”
“Knowing everyone involved, especially Liam, we are optimistic he will pitch again for the White Sox as soon as viable,” he added. “In the meantime, we all will do everything in our power to support our teammate and his family as they face this challenge, while also respecting their privacy.”
Hendriks, a three-time All-Star, is in the final year of a three-year, $54 million contract. His status for the upcoming season is unknown and Hahn said he did not expect to have an update prior to opening day.
Hendriks vowed to make it back to closing games.
“I am confident that I will make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible,” Hendriks wrote. “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.”