Liam Hendriks, Cody Bellinger win comeback awards

Field Level Media

November 28, 2023 at 11:46 pm.

Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks and Chicago Cubs outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger were named the winners of the Comeback Player of the Year awards in the American and National leagues, respectively, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.

The honors have been given annually since 2005 to one player in each league who re-emerged on the field during the season. The winners were selected in a vote by the 30 club beat reporters from MLB.com.

Hendriks, 34, who announced in January that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, returned to the field for his third season with the White Sox on May 29 after undergoing cancer treatment. The three-time All-Star, a native of Australia, announced in April that he was cancer-free.

Hendriks appeared in five games for the White Sox last season, earning two victories and one save, before returning to the injured list in mid-June because of elbow inflammation. He missed the rest of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and became a free agent.

Hendriks entered 2023 after back-to-back All-Star seasons in which he had 38 saves in 2021 and 37 in 2022.

In his first season with the Cubs after six years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bellinger, 28, hit .307 with 26 homers, 97 RBIs, 29 doubles, 153 hits and 95 runs in 2023. The 2019 NL MVP batted only .210 in 2022.

Also in 2023, Bellinger had a career-best 20 stolen bases for his first season reaching the 20-homer, 20-steal level. He was one of three players in the majors to hit at least .305 with 25 homers and 20 steals, joining NL MVP Award winner Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Other players who received votes for Comeback Player of the Year included Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow (10-7, 3.53 ERA) in the American League and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper (.293 batting average, 21 homers, 72 RBIs) in the National League.

Both players worked their way back from Tommy John surgery.