Jenks gives up the bottle, sheds some pounds

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White Sox closer Bobby Jenks, whose reputation for hard partying preceded him to the majors, told MLB.com that he quit drinking over the winter and the decision has helped him lose 25 pounds.
Jenks claims he was never an alcoholic, but he said he felt the need to quit cold turkey for his sake and that of his family.
“Getting [drunk] every night. Let’s put it plain and simple,” Jenks said. “When I took a long, hard look at myself and saw where I was headed, at that point, I was headed in the wrong direction.”
Jenks has had run-ins with management in recent months, mostly about his weight and conditioning, but he said this was a decision he made on his own.
“I just got tired of it, plain and simple,” Jenks said. “When you want a bad habit out of your life, either you wean yourself off or you quit cold turkey.
With his salary up to $7.5 million and other possible closers already on the roster, Jenks knows he could be taking part in his last spring with the White Sox. It’s imperative that he put together a strong season if he expects to make similar dollars in 2011 and beyond. Taking better care of himself is an important first step. However, he realizes the next several months might be more challenging than the last few.
“Actually, it was both: tougher and easier than I thought,” said Jenks of giving up drinking. “During the season, on the plane rides, hanging out with the guys, that’s going to be the challenge, the real test comes this season. I’ve passed one this offseason. Spring training is next and then I’ll think about the season when it starts.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.