CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks earned his first victory on Sunday since missing the start of the 2023 season after being diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Pitching in relief on National Cancer Survivors Day, the Australian-born Hendriks, 34, set down the Detroit Tigers in order at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field in the ninth inning, ESPN reported. The three-time All-Star picked up the victory when Jake Burger hit a walk-off grand slam to give the White Sox a 6-2 victory, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hendriks was reinstated from the injured list on May 29.
“It’s been an emotional week,” the right-hander told reporters after Sunday’s game. “That’s my first time going back-to-back (games) up here. The stuff ticked up as well, which is nice. It’s one of those scripts. My wife (Kristi) texted me, ‘You get your first win on National Cancer Survivors Day,’ and that’s one thing that’s pretty special.
“As soon as you get diagnosed, you are considered a survivor. You’ve lived through this. Hopefully, I can continue moving forward and doing the right thing on the field and give some people some hope to continue fighting.”
Hendriks announced in January that he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The five-year survival rate of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is about 73.8%, according to the National Cancer Institute.
On Monday, Hendriks allowed two runs on three hits and a walk against the Los Angeles Angels in his return, ESPN reported.
Since returning to action, Hendriks has made three appearances and has pitched three innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, according to Baseball-Reference.com.