Liam Hendriks was in scramble mode Sunday morning. But it was for a good reason, as the Chicago White Sox closer found out he was added to the American League All-Star roster.
Hendriks and Jordan Romano of the Toronto Blue Jays are replacing Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees and Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros, Major League Baseball announced Sunday.
“It’s always nice to be able to be recognized,” Hendriks said before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. “It’s always exciting. Hopefully I get a chance to play in the game this year as well.”
Hendriks is an All-Star for the third time in his career; he also made it in 2019 with the Oakland Athletics and last season with the Sox. He earned the save in last year’s All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver, becoming the first Australian to accomplish the feat and the second Sox pitcher, joining Virgil Trucks in 1954.
Hendriks is the first Sox reliever since Bobby Jenks in 2006-07 to make back-to-back All-Star teams.
“It’s such an honor to be able to go to events like this,” Hendriks said. “I’m just hoping to go out there and soak everything up. Plus the jerseys look a little bit better this year than last year.
“I’m in a decent stretch in this part of my career right now. This is a big part of the way things go. I’ve been able to be relatively consistent with everything going forward the last four years. It’s been a wild ride to think of where it all started, where it all came from and the things we’ve gone through.
“That’s one thing I really pride myself in is not necessarily the best numbers or anything like that. It’s just the consistency of being able to go out there day in, day out and make sure it’s not like a good year, bad year, good year, bad year kind of thing.”
Hendriks was 1-2 entering Sunday with a 2.35 ERA, 45 strikeouts, 18 saves in 21 chances and a 0.95 WHIP in 30 relief appearances this season.
“His track record speaks for itself and he’s having a heck of a year,” Sox bullpen coach Curt Hasler said. “If he hadn’t missed a couple of weeks, it probably would have been a no-brainer. They made the right call. This guy is a true professional and his track record is exactly what this deserves.”
Hendriks joins Tim Anderson as Sox representatives. Anderson was voted the AL starting shortstop.
Hendriks is tied for fourth in the AL in saves. He missed nearly three weeks with a flexor strain in his right forearm.
“That was one of the things where I didn’t think anything of (an All-Star selection),” Hendriks said. “I missed some time, it’s not going to happen, now I get a chance to take some time off and regroup. I actually was just talking to (pitching coach Ethan) Katz. We have a plan going forward that I don’t want to have too long in between games. If I can get into the (All-Star) game, it would actually help out that kind of schedule.
“I’m excited about being out there, I’m excited to be in L.A. Getting to rub shoulders with the game’s best is always a good time.”
Hendriks was one of the players Fox Sports picked last year to wear microphones and earpieces for in-game interviews. There were some technical issues and some of his spicy language was picked up. If asked, he said he’ll have a conversation with his wife, Kristi, to discuss whether to wear a microphone again.
“It was actually really good for the game of baseball in Australia,” Hendriks said. “It probably would be a yes. I recognize the fact that you’d probably have to have the beep guy ready again and maybe a little bit more on top of it this year.
“Also, make sure the volume is up so I can actually have a conversation with the guys instead of me just yelling at them and them asking me if I can hear them, which I can’t.”