White Sox’ Liam Hendriks completes chemotherapy, rings victory bell

The White Sox’ closer called it “one of the most emotional things I’ve ever done.”

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Liam Hendriks rings a victory bell to celebrate the completion of chemotherapy. (hendriks_31 on Instagram)

Liam Hendriks rings a victory bell to celebrate the completion of his chemotherapy treatments.


Liam Hendriks completed his rounds of chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the White Sox’ closer rang a hospital victory bell, a beautiful sound that reverberated around the clubhouse.

The moment proclaiming the end of his treatment was captured on video and posted on Instagram, paired with a short essay from Hendriks about how cancer changed his life forever.

“I was . . . in shock and fear not knowing what was next,” Hendriks wrote.

What’s next for Hendriks? A return to the Sox’ bullpen, in due time, potentially before the end of May.

“I talked to him [Wednesday]; it sounds like things are going pretty well, considering,” right-hander Lucas Giolito said Thursday. “Good chance we see him soon.”

While undergoing treatment, Hendriks, 34, was a regular at the Sox’ spring-training complex in Glendale, Arizona. He played catch in the outfield, often on his own apart from the team. And he threw bullpen sessions.

“He was throwing bullpens harder than I throw bullpens,” Giolito said. “He was in the 90s [mph]. In a matter of time, he’ll be back doing what he does for us.”

Hendriks disclosed on Jan. 8 that he had cancer. On Opening Day in Houston, Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Hendriks would not start the season on the 60-day injured list — he’s on the 15-day IL — which was an encouraging sign.

The Sox’ bullpen needs their two-time American League Reliever of the Year and three-time All-Star for obvious reasons, but seeing a teammate and friend on the good side of a jarring, life-changing journey still tops the baseball aspect of Hendriks’ recovery.

“I saw that video and got chills,” reliever Jimmy Lambert said.

Giolito said it was hard to put into words.

“It was crazy,” Giolito said. “It was quite the sight to behold. If I was in that position, I think about where my mental state would go. I don’t know what my motivation would be to go to the field and work out. His mind has been like, ‘All right, I’m dealing with this now, but I’ll be back to what I do pretty soon.’

“A couple more boxes to check, and he’ll be back in the corner of the clubhouse doing his Legos.”

For Hendriks, the last five months have been “both the longest and slowest of my life,” he said on Instagram.

“Being able to ring this victory bell has been one of the most emotional things I’ve ever done,’’ he said. ‘‘I cannot thank my team of doctors and nurses enough for coming up with the best medical plan for me. No words can express the gratitude I have for them saving my life.”

Manager Pedro Grifol got emotional, too.

“And it was emotional in our clubhouse,” Grifol said.

“We can’t wait to get him back. What we need to hear is, ‘I’m ready to go.’ And then obviously the work that he’s putting in out there matches his words. And they’re going to.”

Grifol said Hendriks’ work capacity is increasing, but he’ll have to go through something of a spring-training process to build up.

“The communication’s going to be extremely important when it comes to getting him back on this mound,” Grifol said.

“It’s inspiring,” Giolito said. “He would come to the field every day [in Arizona], and I’d ask him, ‘What’s it like? The treatments?’ It’s obviously a very difficult experience. He would tell me about it and go right back to being himself, making jokes and doing Liam humor. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe it.

“I would be in a bad mood all day about something insignificant in the grand scheme, and this guy was completely himself every single day, coming in, hanging out, throwing bullpens. It was crazy. We can’t wait to have him back.”

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