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White Sox’s Liam Hendriks gets first win of 2023 on National Cancer Survivors Day

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White Sox closer Liam Hendriks earned the win as part of Chicago’s 6-2 come-from-behind victory on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers (box score). In a fitting coincidence pointed out by the White Sox press staff, Hendriks’ victory came on the first Sunday of June, otherwise known as National Cancer Survivors Day. 

Hendriks only recently returned to the majors after being diagnosed in January with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He subsequently underwent chemotherapy, which he finished in April. He was subsequently deemed to be cancer-free and in remission, allowing him to return to baseball.

Hendriks pitched the ninth inning of a tied game on Sunday. He struck out two of the three batters he faced in a clean frame. In two previous outings since being activated from the injured list, he struck out a batter and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. 

“It’s one of those scripts,” Hendriks told reporters after the game. “…Hopefully I can continue moving forward and continue at least doing the right thing on the field and give some people some hope to continue fighting.”

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The White Sox subsequently scored a walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth. Jake Burger hit a grand slam against Alex Lange for the win. Take a look:

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Hendriks, 34, is a three-time All-Star. He finished ninth in Cy Young Award voting in 2020, and then eighth in 2021. Furthermore, he won the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award in both seasons. In 2022, he converted 37 of his 41 saves opportunities and finished with full-season marks that included a 2.81 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings.

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