By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. For the third time this season, reliever Bobby Jenks is heading to the disabled list, reducing the Red Sox' bullpen depth with two weeks to go before the July 31 trade deadline.
Jenks experienced a flareup of back stiffness when he attempted to warm up Friday night in the Red Sox' 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
To replace Jenks on the roster, the team purchased the contract of journeyman lefty Randy Williams. Williams had not been on the 40-man roster, so the Sox designated lefty Tommy Hottovy to make room for his addition.
"I'm excited and a little bit surprised," said Williams. "I was hoping I would get a chance."
Williams has spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues with Seattle, San Diego, Colorado, and the Chicago White Sox, totaling 90 games.
"He's been dominating left-hand hitters," Francona said. "His velocity has been tremendous and it gives us that second lefty where we can match up. His true calling is matching up against lefties and we've wanted to get a look at him anyway. He's that guy who you send to Triple A and say, 'Do your job and you never know.' And here it is."
In 19 games with the Pawsox this season, Williams was 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA and six saves, having struck out 26 in 21 innings of work. He gives Francona a second lefty in the bullpen
to team with Franklin Morales.
Jenks had been on the DL from June 8 to June 28 with the same back stiffness. Earlier in the season, he was placed on the DL with a right biceps strain.
Signed to a two-year, 12 million deal in the off-season, Jenks hasn't been healthy or productive long enough to contribute.
"Not yet," acknowledged Francona. "That's an important part of our bullpen, that compliment to Daniel Bard, or in the seventh inning, or however you want to put it. Fortunately, Matt Albers has been tremendous and Alfredo Aceves, too. But that other arm is a huge arm...We haven't had him out there healthy. We miss that."
Jenks has appeared in just 19 games, going 2-2 with a 6.32 ERA. Opposing batters have hit .328 against him and his WHIP is an unsightly 2.23.
Jenks is scheduled to return to Boston Saturday night and will be examined by the team's medical staff Sunday.