Classy Hendrickson ponders options, returns to clubhouse to say his goodbyes
Mark Hendrickson does his best thinking on the golf course so after learning Monday that he would not be part of the Orioles’ Opening Day roster, that was the first place he went. And it rained on him there, too.
“I thought today would be easier, but it’s worse,” said Hendrickson after reporting back to Ed Smith Stadium today to pack up his locker and say goodbye to his teammates. “I think yesterday just really didn’t sink in. It was one of the things where I don’t know, there was too many things to take into consideration. I just had to leave and play golf. Today, I thought it would be a little easier, but coming back here and not knowing what’s going on, it’s kind of hard. But I wanted to see everybody. It’s something I wanted to do.”
Hendrickson, the 36-year-old lefty who has made 105 appearances for the Orioles over the past two seasons, had a March 30 opt out clause in his minor league contract that stipulated that he could search for a job elsewhere if he didn’t make the big league club. That became a reality yesterday, leaving Hendrickson to spend the next couple of days considering his options. He still hasn’t ruled out reporting to one of the Orioles’ minor league affiliates, but that’s certainly not his preferred option.
“It’s certainly a possibility, but obviously my first intention is to find a big league job somewhere,” he said. “If that doesn’t happen, you just kind of go down to the next option. You just try and consider what’s the best avenue. I’d never rule anything out. I’m just trying to find the best opportunity, the best fit. That could be still with the Orioles but obviously the first order of business is not breaking with the club. I have to deal with everything else after that.”
Hendrickson admitted that his decision is complicated by his family situation. He and his wife welcomed a baby girl this past December, and they have another high school-aged daughter. The family lives fulltime in York, Pa. Their home’s proximity to Camden Yards was one of the main reasons Hendrickson re-signed with the club.
“Those are situations that I haven’t really been in, I haven’t really thought of,” he said. “I think what I’ve learned when I’ve gotten older – that maybe these guys haven’t experienced – is once you have a child that is in school, to ask them to pick up and move is not something that is good for them. In a sense, it makes decisions like this a little bit more challenging, a little bit more difficult because there are so many factors to consider. But they are supportive right now. I think it was harder to tell my wife than even hearing the news myself. That didn’t make for a good day, but she’s doing OK, she’s supporting me. We’ll have to decide what’s best for us."