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.

Mike Leake loses perfect game bid on leadoff single in the ninth

Mike Leake
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Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.

It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.

The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.

In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.

Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.