‘Reach out to people’: Chicago White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks conveys message at ESPYs — and shakes Mike Tyson’s hand

16 July 2023

Liam Hendriks soaked it all in.

The Chicago White Sox reliever walked the red carpet, sat behind members of the Vegas Golden Knights and talked with comedian Hasan Minhaj during the All-Star break at the ESPYs in Los Angeles.

“I’ve watched most of his standup,” Hendriks said in the Truist Park visiting clubhouse Friday. “That was cool being able to chat in between segments with him.”

He also shook Mike Tyson’s hand.

“He damn near broke it,” Hendriks said.

Most of all, Hendriks was glad to get across his message while receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.

“Reach out to people,” Hendriks said. “That was something that got conveyed pretty well.”

Hendriks said his wife, Kristi, wrote most of the speech.

“She’s a lot more eloquent than I can be, especially with writing things down,” Hendriks said. “I tend to just be very orate with it. I can read, obviously, but I tend to get better when I’m just speaking from the heart a little bit.

“It was a really cool experience. I’m happy to be a part of it. Getting a chance to go there, sit around, walk the red carpet, speak about things. Working with the V Foundation. And hopefully we can raise some awareness and funding for that and put it all toward cancer research so we can find a cure.”

Hendriks was honored for his return to the mound after battling stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“All we can do is raise awareness and funding,” he said. “My thing is I look at it from a person who is going through it standpoint, rather than a medical side of it. The positivity that’s needed. Having people reach out.

“Knowing people are thinking about you when you are going through that, it’s a very lonely feeling when going through stuff like this. The more people who can reach out, a text message can brighten someone’s day, can really mean the difference.”

Sox manager Pedro Grifol caught the speech on video.

“He was excellent,” Grifol said. “So happy he received that award. The right guy to get the award. A great experience for him.”

Hendriks made five appearances this season before landing on the injured list with right elbow inflammation. Hendriks said he’s “coming along.” He threw Friday and had a bullpen session Saturday.

“We’ll take it from there,” Hendriks said. “There’s a semi-quasi schedule out there doing that. It’s taking it day by day, making sure it comes back, responds well, and we’ll go from there.”

He said “there’s always progress.”

“At the end of the day, it just needs to be bearable and that’s all I’m looking for right now,” Hendriks said. “It’s more the recovery that is what I need to figure out more than anything. The more I go along with it, the more in depth I get with the throwing program and then all that sort of stuff will sort of help.”

Rehab updates on Yoán Moncada and Garrett Crochet

Grifol said Moncada “felt really good” after his first rehab game with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. The third baseman went 1-for-2 at Lehigh Valley.

“(It) started to rain (and) he came out of the game,” Grifol said Saturday. “He was only going to play five innings. It rained in the fourth, we didn’t want to take any chances.”

Moncada is on the IL with lower back inflammation.

“It just depends how he continues to progress every day,” Grifol said.

Crochet (left shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to pitch Sunday for the Knights. The team’s first-round pick in 2020, Crochet has worked out of the bullpen with the Sox.

Asked how the organization views his future — reliever or starter — Grifol said: “We’ve seen him as a reliever, we talked about exploring him starting.”

“We’re not there yet,” Grifol said. “We don’t have to make that decision yet because that’s not where he is in his rehab. But we have spoken about it. We’ll see when he does take the next step, what happens and see where we want to go.”

As far as preparing a pitcher to make a move to starting while working out of the bullpen, Grifol said: “Can you do that while he’s relieving? Sure he can, but is that the best way of doing it? Not sure.”


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