The White Sox avoided a fairly major injury scare Thursday night in Chicago.
Ninth-inning man Bobby Jenks was accompanied off the mound in the ninth inning after feeling some pain and discomfort in his back. Not to worry, though, because he was later diagnosed with back spams, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, and is likely to be listed as “day-to-day” when it’s all said and done. The big man faced only three batters Thursday, retiring one, allowing a Denard Span single, and walking Orlando Hudson just before being removed.
If he’s deemed unavailable this weekend, quality setup men J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton could see save chances.
Jenks has posted a 4.97 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and a 51/17 K/BB ratio over 41 2/3 innings this season as the White Sox’s closer. He’s converted 23-of-26 save opportunities.
Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.
Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.
The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.
This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”