Rizzo reached out to Hendriks after cancer diagnosis


It's different here. It's the Chicago Cubs' slogan, but lately it seems like it applies to baseball in Chicago in general.

In January, White Sox closer Liam Hendriks revealed he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and he began treatment. 

And the crosstown rivalry has been put to the side as Cubs rally around Hendriks and offer their support.

Former Cubs first baseman, captain and face of the franchise Anthony Rizzo asked Kendall Graveman for Hendriks' number so he could reach out.

"I had guys texting me asking me for his number that just wanted to reach out," Graveman said. "Even Rizzo, who's gone through some some cancer and things. He reached out to me because we know each other personally, asking for Liam's number.

"So during that moment, I knew he's going to have a lot of people kind of sending him 'thinking about you if you need anything from us, from my family to yours, let us know.'"

In April 2008 as a young Boston Red Sox prospect, Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and went through six months of chemotherapy. In September of that year, Rizzo was told he was in remission and was eventually cleared by doctors.

While with the Red Sox, Jon Lester took Rizzo under his wing and offered support. Lester had survived his own bout with cancer a couple years before Rizzo was diagnosed.


Rizzo would go on to have a successful MLB career, which continues with the New York Yankees, and helped lead the Chicago Cubs to a curse-breaking World Series win in 2016. Lester and Rizzo would become teammates with the Cubs, including during that 2016 championship season.

And Rizzo isn't the first Cub to reach out to Hendriks either.

New Wrigley Field star Trey Mancini said he reached out to Hendriks, and said he was ready and willing to offer any counsel he could during the difficult treatment process. 

Mancini said that he had reached out to Hendriks to provide advice and encouragement after he had begun treatment. 

“I just reached out and said ‘if you need any advice, I’m here,’” Mancini said. “It was on the day of his first treatment, so he said ‘thanks so much.’ He had just gone with the treatment and he said he was going to circle back with me. Obviously (it’s) different chemos, but at the same time, you’re not going to be feeling ideal whenever you’re going through it. So I wanted him to know that I have some advice at least on what makes you feel better during chemo, and how to get through it a little bit better.” 

Hendriks is hoping to pitch again this season for the White Sox, but there is no current timetable. 

Mancini experienced his own battle against cancer, undergoing surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon in 2020. He later revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, and underwent chemotherapy treatments while missing the COVID-shortened campaign. 

In November of that year, Mancini announced that his cancer had gone into remission, and that he would rejoin the Baltimore Orioles for the 2021 season. He ultimately hit 21 home runs and drove in 71 RBI’s in 147 games, and won American League Comeback Player of the Year honors. 

Hendriks announced his diagnosis on Jan. 8, and began treatment the next day. 

“I am confident that I will make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible,” he said in an Instagram post. “I know with the support of my wife, my family, my teammates and the Chicago White Sox organization, along with the treatment and care from my doctors, I will get through this.” 

Click here to follow the Cubs Talk Podcast.