Liam Hendriks throws on the backfields at White Sox spring training. (John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times)

Back after missing time due to kidney stone, Hendriks strikes out the side vs. Brewers

PHOENIX — Liam Hendriks had one word to describe passing a kidney stone.

“Excruciating,” the White Sox closer said.

“ Anybody thinking about having kidney stones, I highly recommend against it.”

On the other side of it and pitching for the first time in nine days because of it, Hendriks seemed none the worse for wear, though, striking out all three Brewers he faced and pulling it off with what he calls “a natural hat trick — strikeouts with the fastball, slider and curveball.”

Vocal in good times and bad, Hendriks let an expletive fly when he threw a slider in the dirt to Orlando Arcia. The crowd reacted with a collective ‘whoa,” and Hendriks responded with an over the shoulder wave after he struck out Arcia.

“That’s the stuff that really helps me get locked in, those random little outbursts where I get the crowd yelling back a little bit,” Hendriks said. “And then I get kind of locked in a little bit more, because I need to make sure I don’t just do this and then suck. You have to make sure that if you do anything that’s a little bit too out there, you need to make sure that you back it up with whatever you do on the field.”

Hendriks consumes Dr. Pepper and coffee in high quantities, so to guard against more issues he’ll “chase with water” and not of the carbonated variety, he said, “so this doesn’t happen again.”

Hendriks said he’ll pitch Sunday and “we’re ready for the season.”

Collins’ confident as opener approaches

Catcher Zack Collins, who had been pushing for the backup catcher’s job, tightened his grip on a roster spot with Eloy Jimenez’ injury, especially if designated hitter Andrew Vaughn proves he can play left field. Collins’ left-handed bat — which produced its third homer of the spring and second opposite-field poke in two days Friday — might fit well in a right-handed heavy lineup in the DH slot.

“Eloy is one of our top bats, you never want to lose a guy like that,” Collins said Friday. “But my job isn’t to fill his shoes, my job is to go out there and do as best I can and try to help the team win every way I possibly can.”

Collins is batting .333 with three homers, a double and six RBI this spring. The former Sox first-round draft pick is a career .167/.286/.314 hitter over 36 games but hasn’t been afforded consistent playing time.

“I would hope that I’ve earned a spot on the roster, but I’m going to go out there and do anything that they ask me, whether that’s being [Yasmani Grandal’s] backup every whatever day that they throw me out there or being a DH, going to first base sometimes,” Collins said.

“Obviously, I would like to know here pretty soon whether or not I’ve made the team, but I’m just going out there and doing the best I can, and that’s pretty much it.”


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