Jenks looking for a bit of luck

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Jenks looking for a bit of luck

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON -- After the season hes had, appearing in just 19 games for the Red Sox, limited by a variety of injuries and ailments, reliever Bobby Jenks figures hes due for a change of luck soon.

Ive got some good luck coming my way one of these years, he said in the clubhouse before Saturdays game against the Rays. For the next few years hopefully.

But Jenks also sees those injuries as a blessing in disguise. It was in the process of preparing for surgery on his spine that a much more dangerous condition -- a pulmonary embolism -- was discovered.

The news was alarming to Jenks, who has no personal history or family history of such conditions.

Very scary because with something like that it can be very serious obviously, he said. But here Im in great hands. All the doctors have been wonderful, been taking great care of me. Its been a little bit relieving as far as mentally-wise knowing that Im in such good hands here.

But he does not know how the embolism formed.

Every test that Ive been through this last two weeks -- and I mean Ive been through the absolute wringer over here -- they dont know where it came from, he said. Theres nothing thats still in the veins. Theres nothing thats hereditary so what were thinking right now is possibly that when I left Florida going into Salem to make my rehab start that next day I felt just really sick, felt very fatigued when I went on the field, felt all the symptoms that come along with those and its not a hundred (percent) sure thats where it came from but thats the most likely thats when it happen.

Hes much better now.

Im doing very well, he said. Nothing life or death right now. Feeling very good. In another week or two Im going to start exercising again, start trying to get back on a regular routine and right now Im just on a lot of blood thinners. Just trying to take care of this thing first before we move on to looking at the spine and doing the back surgery again."

Jenks, 30, must wait for the embolism, which he said is not career-threatening, to dissolve before he can have surgery on his back.

Ive got two little growths that are coming off my spine, like two little hooks that have caused damage to my ligament just so much over the years that its actually calcified the ligament and is now causing nerve damage going into the left side, like underneath my scapula, he said. Thats why we thought for so long that it was muscle but it was actually all the nerves that are being locked down from the calcified tendon.

Jenks was told that these types of growths for pitchers are very uncommon.

This surgery for a pitcher, obviously not many have been done, he said. I dont even know if there has been, honest, but the doctor, Curt Wood, hes been very optimistic and positive about the process of it. Going in hell be quick, an hour, and hour-and-a-half surgery. So its a very easy, as far as they go, easy process."

Its not known how or why the growths developed.

No one can answer that, Jenks said. Over time they just kept building and continued and making things worse. The unfortunate thing is it happened to happen here, in my first year here. But looking at it, it would have happened regardless of where I was. It had just been built up for so many years now. Ill definitely be around. Im sticking around as long as possible.

His first season with the Sox, who signed him to a two-year, 12 million contract in December, has been disappointing for Jenks. He has missed 106 games (and counting) over three stints on the disabled list -- for a right biceps strain and left back tightness -- and has been hampered by other ailments in addition to embolism, including colitis. He has posted a record of 2-2 with a 6.32 ERA, giving up 13 walks with 17 strikeouts in 15 23 innings this season.

Obviously its very disappointing for me, he said. I came here with a lot of expectations on myself and a lot of things that I wanted to do for myself and the team this year. Its just a lot of bad luck this year and one of those things Ill have to put aside and as hard as its going to be sitting there during the playoffs. But coming back next year and being the best I can be, and even stronger. Before all this happened I was working really hard up in the weight room, taking care of myself, trying to get back on the field, so Im just going to continue that process and work into next year.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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