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Cubs’ Trey Mancini sends support to Liam Hendriks

1 year agoBruce Levine

The baseball community of just over 1,200 players per season on 40 man rosters is a tight-knit group. The players have the most admired union in the world.

All that said, nothing brings the best out in people than real human battles with life and death and tragedy turned into triumph.

Cancer survivor Trey Mancini sent out his own special message to White Sox closer Liam Hendriks after he returned from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just five months after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

“The fact that he is back five months after a diagnosis is incredible,” Mancini said. “It’s super hero type stuff in my opinion. I don’t know how he returned this quickly. To stay in shape while going through chemotherapy is so impressive. It shows who he is and how tough he is.”

Mancini battled Stage 3 colon cancer and missed the 2020 season after a general physical revealed the cancer. Six months of chemotherapy did the job for Mancini. He returned to his team, the Orioles, in 2021 and had a solid season, hitting 21 home runs with a .255 average.

“I texted Liam yesterday,” Mancini said. “It’s certainly something you don’t want to happen to anyone but after you get through it, I think it does leave a bit of a brotherhood with all the other guys who have gone through it. This is something that will never leave you. It will always be a part of who you are and what you went through.”

The Cubs infielder said people reach out to him about his story from time to time. He admits it’s not always easy to talk about.

“You can be a source of inspiration for others,” he said. “That is something you must be aware of and keep with you. My first year back in 2021, I wish I could go back and be a little kinder to myself than I was. My expectations to be the same player right away that I was in 2019 was not realistic. I also had a ton of interview requests every day, which had me thinking I didn’t ask this to happen to me.

“I was bogged down in trying to be the best player I could be without thinking about what I had gone through as a person. I was hard on myself. I hope Liam is good to himself. One of my bigger regrets was how hard I was on myself that year. It takes some time for perspective to hit in. You do have to just be appreciative of the fact you are alive and playing.”

Cubs manager David Ross also expressed a big welcome back for Hendriks.

“The emotions that overcame him, I can’t even imagine being in his shoes and getting that information and having to go through that journey,” Ross said Tuesday. “Now getting back on a Major League Baseball field and getting that ovation from that crowd. Those emotions he must have been going through is now a great story for him and his family. I just love the way baseball fans show love to players like Liam in those types of moments. It was cool to see.”

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