Liam Hendriks gives in to IL, overshadowing Joe Kelly’s return

White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks
(Photo by Matt Marton/USA TODAY Sports)

By pitching in six games over eight days in early May, Liam Hendriks proved that he’ll take the ball as often as he can.

By pitching only one of the last six days — and being completely unavailable in two close games that would normally result in a Hendriks sighting — it grew increasingly apparent that he simply couldn’t take the ball.

Sure enough, the White Sox placed Hendriks on the 15-day injured list this afternoon (retroactive to June 12), elaborating on Tony La Russa’s description of “arm stiffness” by calling it a right forearm strain. Considering Hendriks is leading the league in saves and the White Sox bullpen in most of the important categories (especially when adjusting for leverage), it’s safe to say that Joe Kelly’s return from a hamstring strain doesn’t quite make up for it.

Those comprise half of the White Sox’s pitching staff reshuffling. They also optioned Bennett Sousa to Triple-A, bringing back Davis Martin for innings in some form.

Were Hendriks healthy, it’d be a genuine boost to see Kelly coming back while Sousa heads to Charlotte, because Sousa’s reverse splits made him prone to misuse by Tony La Russa.

Sousa’s ERA had soared to an even 9.00 before his “scoreless” 1⅓ innings on Monday (he allowed both inherited runners to score after entering the game with two outs). He had given up a whopping 22 baserunners over his last 7⅓ innings in part because La Russa kept playing matchups, and lefties went 8-for-16 off Sousa during that stretch, including Max Muncy’s infamous homer and two doubles.

If Kelly picks up where he left off — which is never a safe assumption given his personal history and the White Sox’s persistent problems with leg injuries — then he should take most of the high-leverage innings involving left-handed hitters until Aaron Bummer returns. It’s either that or more of Tanner Banks in the eighth inning, and given La Russa’s penchant for seeing no-brain decisions where others simply see no brain, this might be more of a toss-up for the White Sox than it appears.

In the meantime, Kendall Graveman will take over save situations whenever he doesn’t require his own careful handling, and perhaps the presence of Martin means that Reynaldo López is freed up to take innings later in games as well.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
As Cirensica

So Hendriks goes to the IL
Sousa goes to Charlotte

Davis comes up

Who gets the other spot? Kelly is ready?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I’ll let you know if I can find an article that addresses this and get back to you.

As Cirensica

It wasn’t clear to me. Sorry. I read the article as Kelly’s return is imminent (in the coming days) rather than already happening. The article’s headline just use the word “return” but it does not specifically address when.

But it is not your fault. I blame my trade. As an accountant and tax person. I am always looking for very specific information before drawing conclusions. I find that lawyers are like that as well. We, tax people, have a tremendous aversion to the “implied” information.

Last edited 1 year ago by As Cirensica
As Cirensica

I re-read the article, and it does not mention when Kelly has been activated. The words “Kelly’s return” are employed to describe Kelly’s status but no mention of when the aforementioned return is happening or happened.

Last edited 1 year ago by As Cirensica
Joliet Orange Sox

TLR is a lawyer. Perhaps that explains his inability to infer Sousa couldn’t get people out in MLB?

As Cirensica

He didn’t need to infer it. The stats were right there. He chose to ignore it.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Headline should have read “Liam Hendriks Gives in to IL TODAY Overshadowing Joe Kelly’s Return TODAY.”

“In today’s transactions, Liam Hendriks gives in to the IL overshadowing Joe Kelly’s return”

Or leave the title as it is, and provide context of timing in the body of the article.

Right Size Wrong Shape



Kelly was activated


“Kelly pitched”


Forearm stiffness is the precursor to TJ surgery, this may not end well.


It would be brutal timing, he’d obv miss this year but also maybe all of next year too


Yes, Hendricks wouldn’t pitch again until 2024 if TJ surgery this year. 14 Month recovery.


Bit of an overreaction. Not good but let’s not put him on the shelf for a year just yet

Augusto Barojas

No worries, even with Sousa off the roster, TLR will find another reliever to misuse. I have nothing but confidence in him.


Friggin TLR!


He looked bad after that last pitch Friday night. Everyone was high-fiving and he was noticeably favoring his right arm.


So once again…players who are on the cusp of being demoted are usually not very good, not playing well, or both. Setting up game strategies around such players – as TLR has with Sousa and Sheets – is just dumb.

The plan should never be “and then a Bennet Sousa will get (blank) out,” or “and then Gavin Sheets will hit a game winning home run with two outs in the final inning.”

Augusto Barojas

It’s a good thing Hahn spent all their resources the last two offseasons ensuring that they would have a world class bullpen.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Well, I am kind of glad that they have Graveman and Kelly right now.