On Sunday in an emotional Instagram post, Liam Hendriks, the All-Star closer for the Chicago White Sox, revealed that he has cancer and will start treatment right away in the hopes of pitching again.
A year after leading the American League with 38 saves, Hendriks, who saved 37 games with a 2.81 earned run average last season vowed to beat the disease.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the form of cancer he has, has a five-year survival rate of 70%.
In the post, Hendriks wrote, “Hearing the word ‘Cancer’ came as a shock to my wife and I, as it does to millions of families each year. However, I am resolved to embrace the fight and overcome this new challenge with the same determination I have used when facing other obstacles in my life.”
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The 33-year-old, Hendriks is one of the team’s leaders and has long been active in the community and charitable causes; he’s a 12-year veteran of the big leagues and has played for five different teams.
White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn said in a statement:
“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,” he added.
Three-time All-Star Hendriks is in the latter year of a three-year, $54 million deal. Hahn stated that he did not anticipate having an update prior to opening day regarding his status for the 2017 season. But Hendriks vowed to make it back to closing games.
The MLB star wrote, “I am confident that I will make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible. I know with the support of my wife, my family, my teammates and the Chicago White Sox organization, along with the treatment and care from my doctors, I will get through this.”