By Sean McAdam
BOSTON -- It's been almost exactly a month since Bobby Jenks has appeared in a game for the Red Sox. Now, after a stint on the DL due to a biceps strain and two rehab apperances for Pawtucket last weekend, Jenks is eager to return.
"I'm back at 100 percent," proclaimed Jenks. "My arm feels great. I was throwing the ball well at Pawtucket; I was commanding all my pitches and feeling very good."
Jenks didn't allow a run in five of his first six appearances for the Sox in April, but in retrospect, the arm began effecting him in mid-April, a "solid two weeks," before he shut it down.
"He was throwing hard," recounted Terry Francona. "That wasn't an issue. The thing that was bothering him was the command."
"I was feeling I could keep throwing through it," said Jenks. "Unfortunately, we just didn't catch it in time . . . It's something we could have caught sooner, but I was being stubborn and not telling anybody about it."
During the down time - with side sessions -- Jenks was able to correct some poor habits he fell into mechanically.
"Small adjustments, that's all it, really," said Jenks. "Just keeping my shoulder closed longer and keeping my head on top of the ball -- small things to keep myself right."
It's possible -- even likely -- that Jenks' first appearance since May 1 will come against the White Sox, the team for which he pitched six seasons before leaving to sign a two-year deal with the Red Sox last winter.
But facing the White Sox or manager Ozzie Guillen, with whom he's frequently fueded, won't serve as any extra motivation.
"If it was any team right now," he said, "I'd have the same motivation because I'm coming off the DL and I want to get back to work."
Pitching against long-time teammates such as Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin -- among others -- is "going to be weird. But once the game starts and once my inning is there and ready to go, it's time to get down to business."
A month off has given Jenks a new persepctive and a fresh start.
"I want to get back to where I was at the start of the year," he said, "and get back to commanding all my pitches and pitching like I know I can."
Of the verbal give-and-take he had with Guillen last winter and this spring training, Jenks said: "It's water under the bridge for me. I'm here with the Red Sox now and as much as I enjoyed my time over there with Chicago, my focus is on this organization and this team right now."
Jenks said he regretted some of the negative things he had to say about the White Sox and Guillen after leaving.
"I spent a lot of time there and there were a lot of good years," he said.