Red Sox

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

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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