White Sox’ Liam Hendriks announces he’s starting last round of chemo

Hendriks, 34, greeted Sox fans with a happy home opener message on the video board while wearing a T-shirt with the words “Close Out Cancer” on it.

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White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks told fans in a video message that he underwent his final round of chemo on Monday.

White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks told fans in a video message that he underwent his final round of chemo on Monday.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Cult hero A.J. Pierzynski threw the ceremonial first pitch, and Grammy Award-winning artist Jon Secada sang a passionate rendition of the national anthem.

But the most uplifting moment before the White Sox’ home opener Monday was a brief message from closer Liam Hendriks, who provided an encouraging update after disclosing Jan. 8 he was undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hendriks, 34, greeted Sox fans with a “happy Opening Day” message on the video board while wearing a T-shirt with the words “Close Out Cancer” on it.

“Just wanted to let you know I’m starting my last round of chemo today. So see you guys on the South Side soon,” said Hendriks, whose message ignited loud cheers.

Pitcher Michael Kopech said a few of his teammates were aware of Hendriks’ progress before his announcement.

“We’re excited for him to get back whenever he can,” Kopech said. “Ultimately, we’re ready for him to be part of the team again. We’re glad things are clearing up for him.”

Hendriks’ treatments have progressed to the point where the Sox elected not to place him on the 60-day injured list, thus raising the possibility he could return before Memorial Day.

General manager Rick Hahn prefers not to provide a time frame for the return of Hendriks and left-hander Garrett Crochet (Tommy John surgery) until they start minor-league rehab assignments.

“But we are headed the right way and currently have a very real chance of having them both back prior to 60 days into the year,” Hahn said.

Updated digs

The long corridor from the home and visiting clubhouses to the players’ parking lot is now occupied by a family room, a day-care center, an expanded weight room and a vaunted pitching and hitting lab.

Hahn said the overdue upgrades were a “multimillion-dollar investment” that involved input from pitching coach Ethan Katz, several staffers, players, business executives and architects.

Hahn said they also looked at similar facilities at the United Center and Advocate Center and viewed various ways to maximize the space.

Hahn was pleased the Sox now have pitching labs at their Camelback Ranch spring-training facility and Guaranteed Rate Field.

Moncada-mania

Yoan Moncada’s second-inning double extended his hitting streak to five games, in which he’s batting .429 (9-for-21). Moncada became the second Sox player since 2009 to hit at least four doubles in the team’s first five games of a season, joining Carlos Quentin (five in 2011).

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