The right-hander once sat among a group of soft-tossing Twins starting pitching prospects, and like others in his class, he fizzled out, only to resurrect his career as a relief pitcher. He's posted an identical 9.9 K/9 in each of the last two seasons and had sparkling control rates. Basically, he's melded the zone-pounding approach instilled by Minnesota with some actual punch, complete with three extra ticks of velocity since 2014 and swinging-strike rates of 11.3 and 10.8 percent in the last two years, respectively. Liam Hendriks' 2016 ERA hid how well he performed (2.85 FIP). The .334 BABIP he allowed was odd, considering he doesn't allow a lot of hard contact, line drives or groundballs. His skills could make Hendriks a surprisingly effective closer if he can break through a deep corps of late-inning Oakland relievers with at least a hint of closer-like ability. Either way, he'll have a good shot at plenty of holds as an important setup option in 2017.
Hendriks has informed Team Australia that he may be available if they advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Hendriks withdrew from the WBC on Saturday because he doesn't feel he's where he needs to be for high-intensity games. The decision appears to be advisory, as the right-hander spent a good portion of last season on the DL with elbow inflammation. Whether he plays or not, Hendriks appears to be focused on preparing for the season in the most efficient way possible.
Hendriks has decided not to pitch for Team Australia in the World Baseball Classic, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports. His decision to withdraw from the WBC does not appear to be injury-related, but instead just a personal decision not to go. The 28-year-old right-hander will now have the opportunity to spend the entirety of spring training with the Athletics, as he looks to get himself ready for another season in Oakland's bullpen.
Hendriks agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the Athletics on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. When healthy, Hendriks was one of the most heavily-used relievers for the Athletics in 2016. Despite a rough start to the season in which he was hampered by an elbow injury, the 27-year-old was able to put together a solid campaign to the tune of a 3.76 ERA (2.85 FIP) over 64.2 innings pitched. He'll be a factor out of the bullpen again in 2017.
Hendricks has allowed six earned runs in 28.1 innings of work (1.91 ERA) since returning from the disabled list on June 19. Before his DL stint for an elbow injury, Hendricks owned an 8.27 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. The injury must have been hampering him badly because he has since overwhelmed hitters with a 0.92 WHIP to go along with a 26:6 K:BB.
Hendriks (elbow) was activated from the 15-day DL on Sunday. Hendriks completed a three-outing rehab assignment at Triple-A Nashville without incident, so he'll rejoin the 25-man roster for the first time since early May. The lefty owned a 8.27 ERA and 1.77 WHIP over 16.1 innings prior to landing on the DL, but his excellent 19:1 K:BB ratio hints that he may have been a victim of some unfortunate luck.