According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bobby Jenks was scratched from a scheduled appearance in Saturday’s spring game after an MRI on his left calf revealed some mild irritation.
It’s not a major issue — Jenks should be fine by the start of the regular season if he recovers properly — but the calf irritation will probably haunt him again at some point this season and the White Sox have already flirted with the idea of replacing him at closer.
Matt Thornton had a 2.74 ERA and 1.08 WHIP last season and is an option to take over ninth-inning duties. As is J.J. Putz, who has 103 career saves and at one point finished 40 victories for the Mariners.
Jenks, 29, posted a 3.71 ERA and 1.28 WHIP last season for the White Sox while collecting only 29 saves in 35 chances. His average fastball velocity has dropped
from 97 MPH in 2005, his rookie season, to 94.8 MPH last year. His K/9 is also down from 11.44 in ’05 to 8.27 in 2009.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.