Right forearm strain sidelines White Sox closer Liam Hendriks
The Sox reinstated Joe Kelly from the IL, optioned lefty Bennett Sousa to Charlotte and recalled righty Davis Martin.
DETROIT — Closer Liam Hendriks is the latest White Sox to land on the injured list, the latest in a series of health blows to a team hobbled by the IL and wobbled by shaky play in its first 60 games of the season.
Like many of the others, this one is significant, and fingers are crossed it doesn’t affect the Sox for more than three weeks, the preliminary estimate for Hendriks being on the shelf with a right forearm flexor strain.
“It’s a matter of how he responds to treatment over the next few days before we come up with an exact timetable,” said general manager Rick Hahn, who is with the team in Detroit.
The underlying fear is knowing flexor strain diagnosis can foreshadow more serious elbow problems. A workhorse with little inhibitions about multiple-inning outings and pitching on back-to-back days, Hendriks is the two-time reigning American League Reliever of the Year, in the third year of a four-year, $54 million contract. Hendriks, 33, has 16 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 25 appearances this season.
Joe Kelly, reinstated from the IL Tuesday, started the day knowing he would be pressed into closer responsibility if needed Tuesday with Kendall Graveman unavailable after pitching Monday. Kelly has five career major league saves.
Hendriks, who has made 10 straight scoreless outings, has not pitched since Friday’s game against the Rangers and only once since last Tuesday. Manager Tony La Russa on Monday said Hendriks was dealing with arm “stiffness.”
Liam Hendriks has a flexor strain. “It’s a matter of how he responds to treatment over the next few days before we come up with an exact timetable,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said. “But the preliminary estimate is three weeks.”— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) June 14, 2022
“As a veteran pitcher, he’s used to having discomfort from time to time and he felt in his last outing, it was just a little bit different,” Hahn said. “Over his next couple of days they were able to get it calmed down enough to ... keep him active because we thought it was going to resolve itself and yesterday it seemed to move a little bit where it was giving him trouble.”
A return within a few weeks would register as a positive for the club given the ominous diagnosis, as flexor strains can sometimes be a precursor to more serious elbow problems.
“That’s a really big blow,” said left-hander Aaron Bummer, who is on the IL with a lat strain. “But we’ve got Joe coming back and I think it’s the same thing as last year, that was a huge thing about the next man up. Somebody else is going to have to step up without Liam back there.”
Hendriks joins Bummer, Vince Velasquez (left groin strain), Garrett Crochet (Tommy John surgery), Yasmani Grandal (lower back spasms), Tim Anderson (right groin strain) and Eloy Jiménez (right hamstring tendon tear) on the IL.
NOTES: The Sox recalled Davis Martin from Charlotte and optioned lefty Bennett Sousa to Charlotte. Martin, 25, is 0-2 with a 4.11 ERA in three games (two starts). Sousa, has a 3-0 record in relief with an 8.41 ERA and one save in 25 appearances.
*Jake Burger, who took a pitch off his right hand Monday, was available as a pinch hitter but expected to not play Wednesday.
*Hahn said the fluid drained from Michael Kopech’s knee came from “something pinched such as a preexisting cyst in the area that got angry and created some fluid...Nothing in there that he hasn’t pitched with throughout his career and therefore seemingly no long term concern.”