24/05/2024

Liam Hendriks has been selected for his second MLB All-Star Game. (Photo: Chicago White Sox)

Liam Hendriks becomes the first Australian to be selected for two MLB All-Star Games after being named as a relief pitcher for this year's showcase.

West Australian Liam Hendriks has been named as a relief pitcher for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, scheduled for July 13 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.

Hendriks’ selection to this year’s All-Star Game is his second of his career, also appearing in 2019’s All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio while playing for the Oakland Athletics.

With this announcement, Hendriks becomes the first Australian to be selected for two All-Star Games. Previously, Australians David Nilsson (Milwaukee, 1999) and Grant Balfour (Oakland, 2013) have made appearances in the showcase game.

The now-Chicago White Sox reliever told MLB.com that this moment was special to him, highlighting the awareness it will raise back home.

“Stuff like this is what makes it pop a little bit more in Australia, and is going to be fantastic for baseball in Australia,” Hendriks said.

“Hopefully this can increase the awareness of baseball in Australia and get some more kids over here.

“We’ve got another kid who just made his debut with Baltimore in Alex Wells. The more guys we get in the Big Leagues, the bigger the game is going to get back home.”

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Hendriks provided an insight into his preparations for the All-Star Game. He explained that the game is a way to showcase the best players in the league, but also conceded it has a laidback nature to it.

“I don’t really like breaks. I tend to feel worse after off-days,” Hendriks said.

“I actually don’t mind this… now that the pressure is off the All-Star Game. It’s not as if it’s a ‘winner takes the World Series [home-field advantage]’ stuff.

“You are allowed to enjoy it a little bit more. You are allowed to go out there and have some fun. It doesn’t have to be strictly performance, performance, performance. You can joke around with guys from the other team. Hopefully, I can get an inning in there.”

After making the move to Chicago earlier this year, during the 2021 MLB season, the right-hander has made 37 appearances, pitching 35.0 innings, holding a 3-2 win-loss record. He’s given up 24 hits for 10 earned runs with 53 strikeouts and four walks for an ERA of 2.57.

Impressively, Hendriks leads the American League in saves and is second league-wide. The White Sox pitcher has converted 21 saves from 24 opportunities and was May’s American League Reliever of the Month.

The 32-year-old previously appeared in the MLB All-Star Game two years ago where he earned a hold, pitching one innings for one hit, one run and three strikeouts as the American League All-Stars won 4-3.

In 2019, he struck out the first two hitters, the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant and Trevor Story from the Colorado Rockies. He then gave up a home run to Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon before ending the inning with a strikeout against the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso.

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