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White Sox’ details the difficulties leading a clubhouse while injured

Aug 31, 2023

Recently, negative comments about the White Sox clubhouse from former players have dropped.

The comments from former reliever Keynan Middleton, reaffirmed by Lance Lynn, addressed the alleged lack of structure and accountability in the team's clubhouse. Middleton recounted a player sleeping in the bullpen, a young player missing PFPs (pitcher fielding practices) and an overarching "no rules" environment.

One of the clubhouse leaders, Liam Hendriks, talked about his difficulty taking a leadership role while spending ample time away from the team. This season, he's battled cancer from January to April and recently underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery.

"It's been very hard for me to act in that kind of leadership role and try to take charge of things because I haven't been on the field," Hendriks said to the media Friday. "I don't feel like I've earned that credit this year but not going out there. I'm a big "follow the leader" (advocate). OK, I'll do this, people fall in line."

Hendriks is one of the most outspoken, candid voices in the White Sox locker room.

The White Sox closer is wonderfully profane and animated. He's profoundly intelligent too. His knowledge stems further from that of his capabilities in the field. His experience earns him the stripes of a well-rounded clubhouse leader.

Yasmani Grandal recently told the media Hendriks' absence this season hurt the locker room.

Though, Hendriks empathizes with the team, saying all clubhouses go through bumps and bruises, but simultaneously asserts the team is responsible for handling those matters.

"No clubhouse is perfect," Hendriks said. "I think everyone understands there are some things that need to be addressed. There were certain comments made that I wasn't here for. I have no recollection of anything like that because I wasn't here. If any of those comments kinda rang true, it was on the players to handle it and make sure they were taken care of and make sure it didn't happen again."

The White Sox denied all hearsay about the clubhouse. General manager Rick Hahn said the details weren't accurate, though admitting the team has had its ups and downs in the clubhouse during their underachieving season.

"No one in this organization for the last several weeks has run from the fact that we've had cultural issues and we need to improve the leadership in that room," Hahn said. "We're going to continue to strive to get better in that area. But one thing we're not going to do is stand idly by while false reports are put out there about the character of the men that remain in that room."

Hendriks also pointed to the number of alpha personalities the White Sox have in their locker room. That, coupled with the White Sox' disappointing season and miniature trade deadline teardown, isn't a recipe for a happy clubhouse.

"You got 26 guys in a clubhouse. Let's be honest, athletes tend to have some egos on them," Hendriks said. "So you got 26 guys with somewhat inflated egos, myself included, and you're always gonna butt heads.

"I have different philosophical views on the way a clubhouse should be than other guys. I like to maintain positivity and harp on the good things rather than the negative things. Some people are the other way. No way is wrong, no way is right. It just matters that you mesh together."

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