Liam Hendriks Returns To Mound After Defeating Cancer, Gets Ohtani Out

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Just five months ago, Liam Hendriks had no idea if he was ever going to play the game he grew up loving after being diagnosed with cancer. Yesterday, on Memorial Day, not only did he make his dream a reality, but he was also able to get out superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Hendriks made his triumphant return Monday after being diagnosed and defeating Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer at the beginning of this year.

After being welcomed back via a monstrous applause by every single person in Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, Hendriks stepped to the mound and threw a first pitch with all the strength, nerves and intensity that one can imagine. And you just knew he was going to connect on it. That he did – throwing a perfect 96 mph fastball strike in his first pitch back.


Hendriks entered the game in the top of the 8th inning with the team trailing the Angels 4-3. Although he gave up two runs on three hits with one walk, stats hardly mattered in this game. All eyes were on Hendriks, who was even able to have Shohei Ohtani groundout to end the inning.

Unfortunately the Sox couldn’t rally in the late innings and the team ultimately fell 6-4.


After the game, Hendriks told reporters that he tried going through his “normal routine” and appreciated being back out on the mound.

“I haven’t been outwardly emotional throughout this journey, and that was one of the ones that got me,” the White Sox closer said about the crowd’s reaction.

One thing’s for certain, Hendriks has a new appreciation for life that he’s going to bring to the mound – and is ready to step up any moment the organization needs him.

“This isn’t a rehab while I’m in the Majors type thing, when I came back I was planning on being available… If the phone rings tomorrow [for me to pitch] then the phone rings and I’ll be ready.”

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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