Bobby Jenks has lost some weight

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Thumbnail image for bobby jenks white sox.jpgWhite Sox’ closer Bobby Jenks has taken all kinds of heat from the front office over his weight since the end of the season.  A season, mind you, which was interrupted but bouts with kidney stones, a
strained calf muscle and some other ailments which, if you believe Kenny Williams, were basically fat guy injuries.  The Sox — while bringing in J.J. Putz to put some pressure on him — decided to give him one last chance, however, and signed him to a $7.5 million deal for 2010.  It looks like he’s making the most of his chance:

Bobby Jenks spent the last three months losing weight. The White Sox closer then spent 10 minutes in a closed-door meeting
with general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen on Friday
clearing his conscience.

”He looks the best I’ve ever seen him, and I’m really proud of this
guy,” Williams said. ”As a husband and father, he’s great around his
kids — but just sitting here and looking me and Ozzie right in the
eye, addressing the issues head-on like men, I’m proud of him. Good for
him. Sometimes you’ve got to push some buttons to ultimately get to
that point.”

Those buttons caused him to lose, in Sun-Times’ writer Joe Cowley’s opinion anyway, something on the order of 30 pounds.

I still don’t think it was right for Williams to have turned Jenks’ weight into a public thing — it’s rude and unprofessional to call your own players out, and focusing on Jenks’ problems probably hurt his trade value at a time the team was listening to offers — but I suppose you can’t argue with the results.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”