‘It’s been overwhelming’: All-Star pitcher Liam Hendriks joins Knights after beating cancer
Hendriks made his return to the diamond after battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - All-Star MLB closer Liam Hendriks was preparing for the 2023 season with the Chicago White Sox when he received news that would forever change his world.
Hendriks announced in early January that he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and immediately began chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Less than five months later, his journey back to the major leagues brought him to the Queen City, pitching for the Charlotte Knights.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Hendriks said. “You don’t really realize how many people this can affect.”
He shared on April 5 that he was in remission after finishing his chemotherapy, and his mind immediately turned to when he could get back onto the baseball field.
“You need something to shoot for, and a goal to attain, a goal for me to try and beat,” Hendriks said. “That was something I used as motivation.”
The journey back to the big leagues started in Lawrenceville, Ga., when Hendriks joined the Charlotte Knights roster during a road series against the Gwinnett Stripers.
This week, the journey took him to the Queen City as he continues his rehab assignment.
Hendriks took the mound for the first time at Truist Field Wednesday night when he closed out the Knights’ 7-1 win over the Durham Bulls.
He struck out one batter in a perfect ninth inning, including an acrobatic play at first base to record the final out.
With every pitch and every strikeout on his journey back to the MLB, Hendriks hopes his story can serve as a motivation for anyone else going through their own battle with cancer.
“Hopefully it can lift their spirits or uplift them or give them hope while going through something similar,” Hendriks said. “Hopefully I can be a somewhat of a positive thought they can use.”
The plan is for Hendriks to get at least one or two more rehab appearances for the Knights this upcoming week against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders before rejoining the White Sox.
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