Jenks: 'I know my role' with Red Sox

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Jenks: 'I know my role' with Red Sox

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

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 ESPNBoston.com 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 smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.