It feels like it was a pretty obvious honor – but it’s an incredible one nonetheless.
This evening, the White Sox and Major League Baseball announced that Liam Hendriks was named the MLB’s 2023 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
A few weeks ago, the White Sox announced that Hendriks had been named the Comeback Player of the Year in the 2023 Players Choice Awards. Those awards are presented annually by the Major League Baseball Players Association and are voted on by players from each league. This award is more closely associated with Major League Baseball.
Hendriks, 34, returned to the White Sox’s active roster in May and appeared in five games after battling non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hendriks revealed his cancer diagnosis and began treatment in January, and completed treatment and announced he was cancer-free in April.
The right-hander went 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA (3 ER/5.0 IP), one save, and three strikeouts this season before undergoing ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery in August. The current recovery timeline has Hendriks sidelined for approximately 12-14 months, meaning he likely won’t return until the 2025 season at the earliest. As a result, earlier this month, the White Sox declined their $15M option on Hendriks for the 2024 season, making him a free agent.
Hendriks was also named the White Sox nominee for the 2023 Roberto Clemente Award, his third consecutive nomination. He helped raise nearly $130,000 for lymphoma research through the sale of “Close Out Cancer” t-shirts, and visited with cancer patients and their families throughout the regular season, both at Guaranteed Rate Field and on the road.
It remains unclear where Hendriks will pitch in 2024 – or if he will at all. He is likely to receive a two-year deal from a team that is willing to take a chance on his health heading into 2025.
For now, he remains an inspiration for all.
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Featured Image: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports