When Bobby Jenks showed up to White Sox camp 20 pounds lighter I thought that maybe the reliever was serious about getting in shape and putting together a full season. Sure he was still a big man but losing 20 pounds is still a decent chunk to lose over the course of an off season no matter what weight you started at.
When camp started pitching coach Don Cooper said he was excited about Jenks because this year the team would only have to get the pitchers arm in shape instead of working on his workout habits.
Jenks also told the media he had cut out drinking which now appears may be the sole reason for his weight loss.
Cooper told the Chicago Sun times the following earlier.
‘Because Bobby worked so hard on his conditioning, plus Bobby had another child, plus the weather in Chicago is bad,” said pitching coach Don Cooper. “And he told me he had a little difficulty getting somebody to catch him. So he was just playing more catch than actually pitching off a mound.”
To me that comes across as a bunch of excuses. I am sure Bobby Jenks isn’t the only member of the White Sox who stays in the area during the off season and frankly has he never heard of a gym?
To suggest that Jenks could not find workout time because it snowed or was cold is just silly to me. I was starting to think that maybe Jenks was ready to get serious about his health and his career but after hearing that list of excuses I’m not so certain anymore. I’m starting to think Jenks lost all of his weight by simply not picking up the bottle every night.
Jenks has been a reliable closer dating back to his assumption of the role during the 2005 season but following a late season collapse in which he became a collector of blown saves his job is not as secure as it was this time last year. With JJ Putz and Matt Thornton both on the team there’s little room for error on Jenks’ part.
Barring a awful spring it’s almost certain that Jenks will start the year as the White Sox closer but only results will keep him there for the full season. Should he lose his role as the White Sox closer he would almost certainly be a trade candidate before the trade deadline.