White Sox closer Liam Hendriks sidelined by elbow inflammation

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks has been sidelined by elbow inflammation after he missed the start of the season while he recovered from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hendriks was placed on the 15-day injured list before Sunday's series finale against the Miami Marlins. Left-hander Tanner Banks was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.

"It's unfortunate, especially how he got through what he got through," manager Pedro Grifol said. "It impacts us as a club emotionally. It impacts our roster, but again, we got to continue to move forward and hopefully he can recover from this. That's all we can do at this point."

General manager Rick Hahn said Hendriks' elbow discomfort is currently presenting in the same way as an issue the pitcher had last season, when he was placed on the IL on June 14 with a strained right forearm flexor and then reinstated on July 4.

"At this point we do not know if that's going to be a similar path for this year," Hahn said. "He's undergoing additional examinations at this point. He's not at the ballpark, seeing our doctors. I suspect we won't have a specific update until probably Tuesday in all candor."

The IL stint for Hendriks comes with the White Sox still trying to dig out of a brutal 7-21 start to this season. They had won six of eight heading into the rubber game of the weekend set against the Marlins.

When Hendriks missed the start of the season, the White Sox also were without Garret Crochet while the left-hander finished his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Crochet returned last month, and Kendall Graveman has a string of 16 consecutive scoreless appearances.

Grifol also had been easing Hendriks back into the closer role.

"Obviously losing Liam can hurt any bullpen," Grifol said. "But we are better prepared than if it just happened just out of the blue. I trust our guys that we have back there. They've been pitching great baseball. They've been pitching in different roles."

Hendriks made his major league return from cancer  when he pitched an inning against the Los Angeles Angels on May 29. The 34-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a save and a 5.40 ERA in five appearances this year. 

Hendriks has 116 saves and a 3.82 ERA over 13 seasons with Minnesota, Toronto, Kansas City, Oakland and Chicago. He signed a $54 million, three-year deal with the White Sox in January 2021.
He led the American League with a career-high 38 saves in his first year with Chicago. He was third in the majors with 37 saves and made his third All-Star team in 2022, but he noticed some lumps on his neck last summer.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma and underwent immunotherapy and chemotherapy. He announced in April that he was in remission.

"I'm disappointed for him, just because of how much, like you said, he has fought through and what he's personally been through to get himself back to this level," Hahn said. "So, I feel for him the person first. Secondly, yeah, it's disappointing to lose a potential weapon for the back end of our bullpen for some sort of period of time. That said, we feel a lot of confidence in the other options we have down there."