The baseball world is sending its well-wishes to Aussie star Liam Hendriks after he announced on Sunday that he's been diagnosed with cancer. The Chicago White Sox closer revealed on Instagram that he has non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The three-time All-Star pitcher from Perth said he is scheduled to begin treatment on Monday (Tuesday AEDT). He 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."
The 33-year-old said he is "confident" he will "make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible". He added: "I know with the support of my wife, my family, my teammates and the Chicago White Sox organisation, along with the treatment and care from my doctors, I will get through this."
According to the US National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is 73.8 per cent. Some forms are aggressive while others are slow to grow.
The Mayo Clinic describes Non-Hodgkin lymphoma as "a type of cancer that begins in your lymphatic system" while noting that medical advancements have improved the outlook for people diagnosed with the disease. "In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow abnormally and can form growths (tumours) throughout the body. Advances in diagnosis and treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have helped improve the prognosis for people with this disease."
Baseball world rallies around Liam Hendriks
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the club does not expect to have an update on Hendriks' status prior to opening day in March. "Our thoughts and reactions at this time are for Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player," he said.
"I know the entire Chicago White Sox organisation, 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."
Hendriks recorded 37 saves last year (third in MLB) and made his third All-Star appearance for the American League. He led the AL with a career-high 38 saves in the 2021 season after leaving the Oakland Athletics to sign a $US54 million ($A78m), three-year contract with the White Sox.
Across 12 MLB seasons with Minnesota, Toronto, Kansas City, Oakland and Chicago, the Aussie has 115 saves and a 3.81 ERA. Well-wishes have been flooding in for Hendriks on social media.
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