Right-hander Liam Hendriks brings his Aussie accent to Boston. He signed a 2-year deal with Red Sox

Tue, Feb 20, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Right-hander Liam Hendriks brings his Aussie accent to Boston. He signed a 2-year deal with Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Liam Hendriks grew up watching the Boston Red Sox a lot in Australia. He's happy he'll finally get a chance to pitch for them.

The Red Sox announced Tuesday morning that they signed the 35-year-old free agent right-hander to a two-year contract with a mutual option for 2026.

"It's an exciting time, finally happening, and now we get to talk about it a little more," Hendriks said, turning around to look at a name plate that read "Boston Red Sox" at an empty locker in the team's spring training complex.

"It's one of the teams I followed a lot as a kid. It was one of the only ones that came on TV when I was back in Australia," he said. "The Red Sox and Cardinals are two teams that seemed to be on a lot."

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Hendriks is the reigning American League comeback player of the year after returning to the mound on May 29, 2023, following being diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in December 2022.

His 2023 season ended after only five appearances when he was placed on the injured list with right elbow inflammation on June 12. That eventually led to Tommy John surgery on Aug. 2.

"It hasn't been great," he said of last season being shortened by the elbow injury. "I've been pitching through stuff, but that's how it is. That's what you're paid to do, you pitch through stuff."

But he wanted to overcome the cancer scare and was determined to get back.

"I've said it before: I'm pretty sure I knew in my head, I knew it was gone before I even started my rehab assignment," he said of the elbow injury. "But I refused to not get back. I would have pitched left-handed if I made it back last year."

A three-time All-Star - with Oakland in 2019 and the Chicago White Sox in 2021 and '22 - Hendriks knows he brings a lot of energy to a clubhouse. Even manager Alex Cora noticed it right away.

"A lot of annoying sayings," he said of himself, smiling while speaking in his Aussie accent. "Alex said this morning: 'If you see a constant buzz around the clubhouse, it's because Liam hasn't shut up.' That's who I am."

Hendriks feels like his accent will fit right in in Boston.

"Everybody speaks of my accent," he joked. "I don't pronounce my Rs, so I think we're good there. I love being around the Boston area. My wife loves Boston."

He hopes to be back in games near the trade deadline. He's just been playing catch so far.

"Everything is going well. They seemed pleased the way it's going," he said of the team's training staff. "They saw me throw for the first time today. Now it's just a matter of me trying to poke and prod them to go as fast as I can, and them trying to reign me back in a safe way of doing things."

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