Former Blue Jays reliever faces battle with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Chicago White Sox v Texas Rangers
Chicago White Sox v Texas Rangers / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

It’s been a sobering few weeks of sports news. The outpouring of support for Damar Hamlin was a reminder that there’s more to life than the on-field entertainment that sports stars provide.

Then, on Sunday, former Blue Jays reliever Liam Hendriks announced that he had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma - a type of cancer that develops in part of the immune system.

Sharing the news on Instagram, Hendriks also detailed that he’d begin treatment this week and that he was confident of making a full recovery.

The baseball world immediately rallied behind the hard-throwing Australian, with White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn leading the way via a heartfelt message of support:

"Our thoughts and reactions at this time are for Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player.

"I know the entire Chicago White Sox organization, our staff, his teammates, and certainly White Sox fans, will rally in support of Liam and Kristi during the coming months.

"Knowing everyone involved, especially Liam, we are optimistic he will pitch again for the White Sox as soon as viable. In the meantime, we all will do everything in our power to support our teammate and his family as they face this challenge, while also respecting their privacy."

The Jays were amongst those to offer support via Instagram, as the team’s official account joined more than 1800 well wishers on Hendriks’ post. Of course, Toronto also showed excellent support for Broadcaster, Buck Martinez, upon his cancer diagnosis in 2022.

Anyone that watches baseball knows what Hendriks brings to the table. His aggression, passion and humility are all on show at various points of any appearance, and he always puts on a fantastic show out of the bullpen. There’s no doubt that the 33-year-old will bring that grit and determination to his fight against cancer.

Amongst his many career highlights, Hendriks is a three time All-Star, a two time All-MLB First Teamer and he led the American League in saves in 2021. 

Earlier in his career he had two stints with the Jays, either side of a brief spell with the Royals. In his second spell, he pitched to a 5-0 record with a 2.58 ERA and he led the team in FIP (2.14). Jays fans recognised his ability from the off and he put on several impressive performances, including a two inning appearance against the Phillies in which he struck out five of six batters faced.

Everyone at Jays Journal wishes Hendriks every success with his battle and we look forward to seeing him back on the mound soon.

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