Jenks focused on coming back strong in 2012

Jenks focused on coming back strong in 2012

Jenks focused on coming back strong in 2012
BOSTON -- Had Bobby Jenks' rehab assignment in Salem during late August gone smoothly, his back healing enough to allow him to pitch without pain, he might never have discovered the blood clot that's been sitting in his lung.

But instead, Jenks' back continued to bother him, forcing his stint on the disabled list to continue and team doctors to run a whole "ringer" of tests, as he described it on Saturday afternoon.

The accidental finding -- a small clot in his lung that is being treated with blood-thinning medication -- has left Jenks feeling like a very lucky man.

"Obviously, I was going through a lot this year, mentally," he said. "A lot of struggles just trying to stay positive for so long. I've just come to the point where, being a spiritual person and being Christian, I found myself being very blessed that things happen for a reason. I was supposed to have these back problems because of this clot that was supposed to be found."

Surgery to shave down his spine and reduce irritation on the nerves in his back has been delayed. Jenks said the surgery, while rare to be done on pitchers, is a simple one -- to take about 60 to 90 minutes -- and doctors are talking weeks of recovery time as opposed to months.

He'll stick around in Boston for the time being though, disappointed that he can't be pitching for his new ballclub in the middle of a playoff race, especially as he is in the first part of a two-year, $12 million contract he signed last offseason.

"The unfortunate part is it happened to happen here, in my first year here," he said. "But looking at it, [the back injury] would have happened regardless of where I was. It had just been built up for so many years now."

Jenks' stat line in his shortened season ends with a 2-2 record, 6.32 ERA and 17 strikeouts to 13 walks in 15 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .328, more than 60 points higher than his previous career-worst mark of .260.

But he said he was starting to feel better before the blood clot was discovered, putting together solid sessions in the weight room as he rebuilt strength. But for now, the plan is just to get healthy, and he remains optimistic that he'll be ready to go in Fort Myers, Fla., when Spring Training begins next year.

"Obviously, it's very disappointing for me," he said. "I came here with a lot of expectations on myself, and a lot of things I wanted to do for myself and the team this year.

"It's just a lot of bad luck this year, and one of those things I have to put aside, as hard as it's going to be sitting here during the playoffs. But [the goal is] coming back next year trying to be the best I can, and even stronger."