PAWTUCKET – Bobby Jenks proclaimed after working one scoreless inning in Pawtucket’s 6-3 loss Friday night that he’s sorted through the mechanical issues that dogged him earlier in the season.
Jenks fell behind three of the four Indianapolis hitters he faced in the first inning, but he yielded just one hit and battled back from a 2-0 count to strike out the final hitter of the frame on a changeup in the dirt. He threw 14 pitches, eight for strikes, and topped out at 95 miles per hour in his first mound assignment since May 1. The majority of Jenks’ offerings were fastballs sprinkled in with a few cutters, a slider and an outing-ending change.
“The past few bullpens I’ve been throwing, I’ve been working on (my mechanics) a lot,” said the burly righthander, who landed on the disabled list on May 5 with a right biceps strain. “On (Friday), I was able to make the adjustments quick and on the spot when I needed to. Even though I haven’t been off the mound against hitters in a while, I was still able to make the adjustments quick and when I needed to throw those strikes, so I'm feeling very confident about where I'm at right now.”
More importantly, Jenks came out of his outing feeling good.
“Arm-wise I feel 100 percent,” said Jenks, who was signed by Boston last offseason after serving as the closer for the White Sox the previous six seasons. “Going out there in a game situation, the intensity is going to be up and there’s going to be a lot more strain on the arm. If I come out this feeling healthy, then I know things are good.”
Jenks will make one more rehab appearance on Sunday – it’s still unknown whether he’ll pitch the first inning or make an appearance later on – and could rejoin the Red Sox as early as Monday.
“It’s very important because if you come down (to the minors) and something happens because you aren’t ready, that’s something you don’t want to happen (in the majors) because then you’ll be hurting the big-league club,” said Jenks. “The next time, I’m definitely going to be focusing on my mechanics and where I’m at physically and the small adjustments that need to be made. We’ll just focus on those now that I know my arm is 100 percent.”
The PawSox (24-23) took a 3-1 lead into the ninth when Michael Bowden proceeded to give it all back – and then some. The Indians loaded the bases behind two singles and a walk before Bowden served up a grand slam to Andy Marte, the onetime Red Sox prospect who never played a game for the organization. The damage done against Bowden – five runs, four earned in 1/3 of an inning – resulted in his ERA jumping dramatically from 2.81 to 4.15.
Pawtucket, which has dropped 10 of its last 12 games at McCoy Stadium and now stands 9-12 at home, received six innings of one-run ball from Matt Fox, who took over for Jenks in the second inning. Fox struck out six while walking just one. Hideki Okajima worked a perfect eighth inning that featured two strikeouts.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias drove in two of Pawtucket’s three runs with a pair of singles while Brent Dlugach doubled home Daniel Nava in the second inning, a frame that saw the home team score twice.
EXTRA BASES: The PawSox remain one under the 24-man roster limit, though it’s expected Felix Doubront will claim that spot when he comes off the disabled list on Monday. That would line up Doubront, sidelined since May 13 (retroactive to May 11) with a left groin strain, to start that afternoon against Norfolk. … Starting Saturday, Pawtucket’s rotation will feature Kyle Weiland (tonight) with Andrew Miller either piggybacking Jenks or starting on Sunday. Following Doubront will be John Lackey on Tuesday, who according to reports will either pitch four innings or 70 pitches. Since Tuesday would have been Brandon Duckworth’s normal day, it’s conceivable that he could remain on target and follow Lackey. … Junichi Tazawa had a tough Friday night for Single-A Salem, allowing three home runs and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. … Ex-PawSox catcher Dusty Brown added a sacrifice fly for the Indians’ fifth run of the ninth.
Indianapolis 000 100 005 – 6-10-1
Pawtucket 020 000 100 – 3-8-1
Bobby Jenks, Matt Fox (2), Hideki Okajima (8), Michael Bowden (9), Blake Maxwell (9) and Luis Exposito. Brian Burres, Justin Thomas (7), Tim Wood (9) and Dusty Brown. 2B: Daniel Nava, Brent Dlugach, Che-Hsuan Lin. 3B: Gorkys Hernandez. HR: Alex Presley, Andy Marte.
WP: Thomas (3-1). LP: Bowden (2-1). Save: Wood (10).