Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks pitched a perfect inning in his first minor-league rehab outing with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday in Gwinnett, Ga.
Hendriks has been on the injured list since the beginning of the season while undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He announced on April 20 he was cancer-free after completing chemotherapy on April 5.
“First game out, it was nice being in the bullpen, getting that camaraderie going,” Hendriks said in a videoconference call Friday night. “But a little wet out here tonight. So it was always an interesting one, running in. But then go through my warmup pitches and then they made a PA announcement and both teams got out and started clapping, which is — don’t get me wrong, it’s really, really nice. I very much appreciate it. It made me very emotional.
“I’m a guy who pitches on anger, and it’s really hard to get angry when you know the other team is full of nice people. So a little tough to get locked in and then being wet, I slipped on the first pitch and then had to finagle my mechanics a little bit just to make sure I was getting down there all right.
“A clean inning is a clean inning, and with a strikeout, so that’s always good.”
Hendriks entered in the seventh. He got a popout, a strikeout and a groundout. He said he’ll pitch again on Sunday.
“We’ll play it by ear as it goes,” Hendriks said of the schedule. “Hopefully it’s a little bit smoother in my next outing. But for right now, I’m just excited to be here, excited to be a part of the team.
“There’s a plan in place. But as you know with all these rehab assignments and that sort of stuff, it’s written in pencil, never in pen.”