Hendriks 'getting really close' to return after live bullpen session

May 22nd, 2023

CLEVELAND -- White Sox manager Pedro Grifol had an up-close view of ’ live bullpen session thrown Monday prior to the series opener against the Guardians at Progressive Field.

Up close, as in, Grifol stood in the box at one point when the All-Star White Sox closer was throwing.

“I knew he wasn’t going to hit me,” said a smiling Grifol, who stood in while holding his fungo bat in between White Sox hitters facing Hendriks. “I wanted to see what his pitches looked like.

“His slider was really nasty. Threw his breaking balls, a couple two-seamers that were really good. His arm speed was good. He looked really good today.”

Monday’s live BP was Hendriks’ second, after executing the same on Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field. The right-hander, who is in remission from stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, already threw five innings over six games during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.

Grifol noticed a difference in Hendriks during this particular session in comparison to Friday.

“Ticked up from the other day. We’ll sit and talk about it,” Grifol said. “But think we’re going to do it one more time and then we’ll see where we’re at. He’s trending in the right direction. He’s looking good. He was strong today, stronger than the other day.

“I think there was one outing in Arizona where he was like really, really good. The velocity was really high. I was actually able to stand in there, saw the shape of the pitches. His slider was really, really good. He’s getting really close.”

That next live BP for Hendriks could come Thursday at Comerica Park in Detroit, according to Grifol. If all goes well, Hendriks’ return would make sense on May 29 against the Angels in Chicago, with the White Sox faithful waiting to celebrate this next major step.