White Sox closer Liam Hendriks expected to throw live batting practice Friday

“He’s close [to a return],” manager Pedro Grifol said, “so now we’ve got to really do a good job of just evaluating him, how close he really is to being Liam Hendriks, not how close he is just to pitch here in the big leagues.”

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The White Sox’ Liam Hendriks is expected to throw live batting practice at Guaranteed Rate Field Friday, possibly a step toward joining the bullpen.

The White Sox’ Liam Hendriks is expected to throw live batting practice at Guaranteed Rate Field Friday, possibly a step toward joining the bullpen.

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White Sox closer Liam Hendriks is expected to throw live batting practice Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field, possibly a step toward joining the bullpen.

When that happens is the question for the 34-year-old cancer survivor.

“When he throws [Friday], we’ll wait and see the outcome, how he feels, what the numbers were,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “He’s close [to returning], so now we’ve got to really do a good job of just evaluating him, how close he really is to being Liam Hendriks, not how close he is just to pitch here in the big leagues.”

The two-time AL Reliever of the Year, who owns a 2.68 ERA with 75 saves for the Sox over the last two seasons, made six rehab appearances at Triple-A Charlotte, allowing six runs in five innings.

Hendriks allowed two homers in his last outing, but Grifol downplayed his numbers.

“There’s nothing about it, so many rehabs go south,” Grifol said. “Sometimes it’s hard to pitch in the minor leagues. These guys in the minor leagues are swinging the bat, and sometimes they’re recklessly swinging. You’re trying to set them up, and they’re actually not giving you a chance to set them up.”

Hendriks had his possessions set up in his locker, and he did some light work and throwing on the field before the game.

Crochet returns

Making his first appearance since the 2021 ALDS, left-hander Garrett Crochet enjoyed a crisp return from Tommy John surgery with a perfect ninth inning lasting seven pitches. He touched 97 mph.

“He’s worked his butt off to get to today,” Grifol said. “He looked under control, he was throwing strikes. He’ll be a big asset to this bullpen and to this club.”

The bullpen has not allowed a run in a season-high four straight games covering 10⅔ innings.

Farm report

Multiple top prospects have battled injuries, including MLB Pipeline’s No. 1-ranked Sox prospect, Colson Montgomery, the shortstop of the future who is rehabbing a mid-back strain, assistant general manager Chris Getz said.

First-round pick Noah Schultz (No. 5), who hasn’t pitched this season because of a left forearm strain, is throwing live batting practice and will be assigned to Single-A Kannapolis soon, Getz said.

Third baseman Bryan Ramos (No. 3) is at extended spring training and expected to return from a groin injury to Birmingham soon.

Cuban right-hander Norge Vera (No. 12) has a lower-back strain and is on a throwing program in Arizona.

Colas’ progression

Outfielder Oscar Colas, the Sox’ No. 2 prospect, opened the season as the every-day right fielder but returned to Triple-A Charlotte after batting .211/.265/.276 in 25 games. Colas was batting .389/.443/.611 with one homer in 13 games at Charlotte, where he had played in only seven games last season.

“I don’t think anyone believed he was a finished product — we still don’t,” Getz said. “We’ve really focused on certain facets of the game.”

Getz said Colas is getting versed on preparation needed to be a professional along with having to make in-game adjustments.

“He’s communicated really well with the staff and players, and his execution is good,” Getz said.

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