White Sox ink Jenks, Quentin to one-year deals

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Thumbnail image for bobby jenks white sox.jpgThe White Sox and reliever Bobby Jenks avoided arbitration on Saturday by agreeing to a one-year, $7.5 million contract.
Jenks, who turns 29 in March, will receive a $1.9 million raise over a
2009 season that saw him post a 3.79 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 27 saves in 35
chances.

Jenks fought a very public battle with the White Sox over the past few
months about his conditioning, a conflict some thought could lead to
him possibly being traded or even non-tendered in December. Amid
concerns about his weight, Jenks was sidelined during the season with
kidney stones and missed the final 12 games of the season with a
strained calf muscle.

2009 was mostly a reversal of fortunes for Jenks, as his strikeout rate
rebounded (8.27 K/9 from 5.55 K/9 in 2008) and he saw some more
giddy-up on his fastball, but he gave up a career-high nine home runs
in 53 1/3 innings, ultimately inflating his ERA. Pretty fluky, really,
since he’s primarily a groundball pitcher. Still, the conditioning angle is
something to watch this spring, as the White Sox have Matt Thornton and
J.J. Putz at the ready should Jenks continue to fall out of favor in
the organization.

The White Sox also avoided arbitration with outfielder Carlos Quentin
on Saturday by agreeing to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. Limited
to just 99 games last season due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot,
the 27-year-old Quentin batted .236/.323/.456 with 21 homers and 56 RBI.

Video: Athletics tie home run record on the road

Franklin Barreto, Stephen Piscotty, Mark Canha
AP Images
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The Athletics tied a league record on Saturday thanks to Stephen Piscotty, who launched a two-run, 396-foot home run off of the White Sox’ Dylan Covey to put the club on the board in the second inning. The homer may not have erased the five-run deficit the A’s were working against, but it extended their home run streak to 24 consecutive road games — tying the 1996 Orioles for the longest home run streak on the road in 22 years.

Following Piscotty’s blast, they eventually tied things up in the fifth inning with a sac fly from Dustin Fowler and a two-run double off the bat of Jed Lowrie. Daniel Mengden, meanwhile, was forced off the mound after just two innings; he expended 44 pitches and gave up five runs on four hits and two walks.

The Athletics are currently tied with the White Sox 5-5 in the fifth. They’ll attempt to get a leg up in the series finale — and earn the standalone league record for most consecutive road games with a home run — when right-hander Paul Blackburn and southpaw Carlos Rodon go head-to-head on Sunday at 2:10 PM ET.