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2023 MLB Comeback Player of the Year: Liam Hendriks, Cody Bellinger win awards for bounceback seasons

2023 MLB Comeback Player of the Year: Liam Hendriks, Cody Bellinger win awards for bounceback seasons

Hendriks recovered from cancer while Bellinger returned to a talent level more resembling his old self

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Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday night the winners of the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Awards. Free-agent reliever Liam Hendriks, most recently of the Chicago White Sox, earned the American League honors; meanwhile, free-agent outfielder Cody Bellinger was named the National League recipient after a resurgent season with the Chicago Cubs.

The Comeback Player of the Year Awards have been presented annually since 2005 to “one player in each league who has re-emerged on the field during the season.” The voting is conducted by the 30 team beat writers for MLB.com. Here are the previous winners of the Award, by league and by year:

Year American League National League

2005

Jason Giambi, NYY

Ken Griffey Jr., CIN

2006

Jim Thome, CWS

Nomar Garciaparra, LAD

2007

Carlos Peña, TB

Dmitri Young, WSH

2008

Cliff Lee, CLE

Brad Lidge, PHI

2009

Aaron Hill, TOR

Chris Carpenter, STL

2010

Francisco Liriano, MIN

Tim Hudson, ATL

2011

Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS

Lance Berkman, STL

2012

Fernando Rodney, TB

Buster Posey, SF

2013

Mariano Rivera, NYY

Francisco Liriano, PIT

2014

Chris Young, SEA

Casey McGehee, MIA

2015

Prince Fielder, TEX

Matt Harvey, NYM

2016

Rick Porcello, BOS

Anthony Rendon, WSH

2017

Mike Moustakas, KC

Greg Holland, COL

2018

David Price, BOS

Jonny Venters, ATL

2019

Carlos Carrasco, CLE

Josh Donaldson, ATL

2020

Salvador Perez, KC

Daniel Bard, COL

2021

Trey Mancini, BAL

Buster Posey, SF

2022

Justin Verlander, HOU

Albert Pujols, STL

Hendriks, 34, appeared in only five games this season before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. Nevertheless, those five games represented a step forward, as he had announced in January that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hendriks missed the onset of the season, debuting on May 29 with a single inning against the Los Angeles Angels.

Bellinger, 28, had experienced tough times since winning the 2019 Most Valuable Player Award. From 2021-22, he batted .193/.256/.355 (66 OPS+) in 239 games. The Dodgers non-tendered him last offseason, resulting in him joining the Cubs on a one-year pact. He enjoyed a resurgent campaign, batting .307/.356/.525 (133 OPS+) with 26 home runs in 130 games.

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