Hendriks (elbow) has no structural damage; timeline is 'wait and see'

June 14th, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- An upbeat and smiling described his physical condition as “better, I guess,” after being put on the 15-day injured list Sunday with right elbow inflammation.

The White Sox closer had a cortisone shot and will get a PRP injection from Dr. Neal ElAttrache over the next few days after test results showed no structural damage in the area of concern. Hendriks had to clear the cortisone and PRP with his oncologist, as he is in remission from a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis he revealed via Instagram on Jan. 8.

But following a week off from throwing, the focus will be getting Hendriks back on the mound as soon as he feels right.

“It’s all a ‘wait and see,’” said Hendriks during a pregame media session Tuesday in the visitors dugout at Dodger Stadium. “This year, it’s making sure I get everything handled as far as health-wise. It’s making sure everything is taken care of in the right way.

“I need to be cognizant of the way my body reacts and feels with everything, just due to the fact I still don’t have the strongest immune system. There’s a lot of other things going on in my body.”

This pain for Hendriks actually began before his injury rehab assignment for Triple-A Charlotte on May 5 at Gwinnett. But Hendriks tried to tough his way through, until he couldn’t.

“Usually, the more I throw, generally the better I feel. And this time, it wasn’t going away,” Hendriks said. “It was lingering, but I got the shot in there the other day and I’m actually able to dry my face with my right hand for the first time in a while, which is nice.”

“He’ll continue to see the doctors and do his thing,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “We’re optimistic about it but we’ll see. It’s one of those where it will take a little bit, but at least there’s some optimism that he might be back.”

Hendriks missed three weeks during the 2022 season due to a flexor strain in his right forearm. There’s no strain this time, but instead just a little bit of fluid built up.

Any sort of elbow pain is worrisome for a pitcher. But Hendriks was told by doctors his ligament looked better this year than last year.

“Yeah, definitely worried me a little bit because I know that I don’t have the greatest integrity of an elbow, the mileage I put on it and everything like that,” Hendriks said. “It’s always a little concerning, but after I got the scans done, I was cautiously optimistic, and once I got the readings done, it was a sigh of relief.

“It’s a little bit of inflammation around some certain areas, but we don’t know what caused it. It could have been one throw, it could have been, for all I know, a chip that got lodged somewhere. But [we] hope to eradicate it and move towards similar to what happened last year -- miss a little time, but get back and attack it again.”

Since his return from cancer treatment, Hendriks has a 2-0 record with a 5.40 ERA and one save in five games.

“After the game the other day [Friday], I couldn’t quite make a fist and couldn’t quite move too much,” Hendriks said. “That’s when I kind of told everybody how bad it was getting.

“They were well aware. I get treatment done every day. They were well aware I was not feeling great, but it deteriorated to that point where we decided to move forward with some cortisone and PRP just to get me back, give a little refresh.”