White Sox closer Liam Hendriks has been diagnosed with a flexor strain in his forearm, general manager Rick Hahn told reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times). He’s been placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 11, with Joe Kelly reinstated from the IL to take his place on the active roster.
Asked about a timetable for Hendriks’ return, Hahn noted the club will have to see “how he responds to treatment over the next few days” but added “the preliminary estimate is three weeks.” A return within a few weeks would register as a positive for the club given the ominous diagnosis, as flexor strains can sometimes be a precursor to more serious elbow problems.
Signed to what amounts to a four-year, $54MM free agent deal over the 2020-21 offseason, Hendriks has generally been excellent for the South Siders. He posted a 2.54 ERA with an otherworldly 42.3% strikeout rate through 71 innings last season, saving 38 games in the process. He’s collected another 16 saves this year and owns a 2.81 ERA across 25 2/3 frames. The righty’s strikeout rate has taken a step back from its previous heights, but he’s still punching out a very strong 34.6% of batters faced.
Hendriks is one of the sport’s top late-inning weapons. The Sox also lost southpaw Aaron Bummer to the IL over the weekend, leaving manager Tony La Russa a bit shorthanded in the bullpen. Despite having a Hendriks – Bummer pairing at the back end, Chicago continued to invest heavily in relief pitching this past offseason. The front office brought in Kendall Graveman and the aforementioned Kelly on multi-year free agent deals, and that duo plus Matt Foster figure to see plenty of high-leverage opportunities over the next few weeks.