Jenks: 'I know my role' with Red Sox


Jenks: 'I know my role' with Red Sox

By Sean McAdam

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- At 6-4 and at least 250 or so pounds, it's not easy for Bobby Jenks to step lightly. Even after a winter of conditioning, the new Red Sox reliever cuts a hulking figure.

But in his first full day in camp here, Jenks, who signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox last December to serve as a set-up man in the bullpen, was careful to watch where he was going.

"I didn't come here to step on anyone's toes," said Jenks, as soon as someone asked him about co-existing with Jonathan Papelbon at the back end of the Boston bullpen. "I know what my role is."

Last week, Papelbon told that he fully expects fans to begin clamoring for Jenks to take over the closer's role the first time Papelbon blows a save.

Jenks chuckled at the suggestion, but again made clear he's not gunning for Papelbon's job.

"If those questions do come up," he said, "it's going to come down to the decision of management and whatever they think is best for the team. If that meansc whatever it means, they're doing it for their own reasons."

Jenks had been the Chicago White Sox closer for most of the last six seasonscand heading into free agency, he had offers from teams to continue in that role. Instead, he came to Boston, where he will pair with Daniel Bard to handle the seventh and eighth innings.

"I had a few other opportunities to close right away," revealed Jenks, "and keep doing what I was doing. But when the Red Sox called, I jumped right on it."

After years of being entrusted with the final three outs, Jenks must adapt to not only a new city and new teammates, but also, a new role.

"It's going to be an different, obviously," he said, "and it's going to be an adjustment I'll have to make on the field. There have been times throughout my career when I've come in in the eighth inning and finished the ninth. You just have to take that same kind of mentality out there in the eighth every time.

"It's going to be an adjustment, day-to-day, something I'm going to have to learn from quickly once the season starts and get myself adapted to that type of mental mindset."

While Jenks hasn't solicited any advice from others who have made a similar switch from closing to set-up work.

"I've talked to a few coaches that I know who've been around the game a long time," he said. "But no one who's doing what I'm doing now. It's just going to have to be one of those moments where I adjust on the fly and do everything that I can this spring to get ready."

He expects that most of the adjustments will be from a mental standpoint. Physically, the job is no different.

"It's got to be more mental," Jenks ventured, "because the physical is already there. When you come in for the eighth and you're going back out for the ninth, you know that so you keep yourself going between innings. It might be something I need to get myself ready in the seventh to take that mindset into the game."

Jenks has chatted with Papelbon before and considers him a friend. The two shared a kinship as part of the relatively small fraternity of relievers who are called upon for the final three outs of a game.

"It's one of those things that goes on all around baseball," said Jenks. "If you're a closer, you talk to the other closer. Even ex-closers, you have this little bond."

He battled elbow issues in the second half of last season, but found, to his relief, that the problem was merely a tweaked nerve that required rest and rehab, but no surgery.

"There was no question in anyone's mind that that's all it was," he said.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

After leaving Thursday night's game in the fifth inning and missing Friday night's game, Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday as they look to extend their winning streak to six in a 4:05 game against the Seattle Mariners.

Pedroia felt pain his left knee Thursday night and was taken out of the game by manager John Farrell as a precaution. The rainy conditions and wet field were also factors in keeping the second baseman out Thursday and Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on the knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked various confrontations between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his second start of the season for Boston and right-handed reliever Ben Taylor was optioned to the PawSox. Right-hander Rob Whalen, 23,  comes up from Triple-A Tacoma to make his first start of the season for the Mariners. 

The lineups:

Jean Segura SS
Danny Valencia 1B
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Taylor Motter LF
Guillermo Heredia RF
Mike Zunino C
Jarrod Dyson CF
Rob Whalen RHP

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Deven Marrero 3B
Brian Johnson LHP 

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

Rodriguez continues strong stretch as Red Sox blank Seattle, 3-0

BOSTON -- The Red Sox scored runs in bunches in tallying four consecutive victories. They leaned on pitching and defense to earn their latest.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners for their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third win in a row for Rodriguez (4-1), who gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

"I just go out there and pitch," Rodriguez said. "I'm never really thinking about numbers. I just go out there and throw my pitches and do the best I can do."

That effort is producing one of the best stretches of his three-year career.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span. He hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings and only 11 runs in his last 49 1/3 innings. His ERA is just 2.01 over that same period.

"He was amazing," Jackie Bradley Jr. said. "Put zeroes on the board all night long. And he made the big pitch when he needed to."

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Manager John Farrell said his 24-year-old pitcher is in a "very good place" right now.

"He was powerful tonight," he said. "It's just a matter of his abilities coming together. This has always been an extremely talented young guy. We've talked about his maturity, we've talked about his progression. It's been on display here for a good number of starts consecutively."

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs.

"The whole night obviously wasn't consistent," he said.

Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help defensively. Bradley had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.


Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBIs in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.


Mariners manager Scott Servais said they are doing everything they can to find production from an offense that has gone missing.

"Offensively, we struggled to put innings together. That's kind of been the story here for the last week or so, we just haven't gotten the line moving at all, for whatever reason," he said. "Guys are frustrated by it, we all are. We know we're better than that, offensively. It's not happening right now."

Seattle was held scoreless for the fourth time this season.


Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his first major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.