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FORT MYERS, Fla (CBS) – It’s unclear when, or if, reliever Bobby Jenks will pitch for the Red Sox this season, but right now, he is just trying to get healthy after a life threatening off-season.
After an injury-plagued 2011 season that included three trips to the DL, Jenks went through an off-season that put his life in jeopardy.
The right-hander underwent surgery at Mass General Hospital on December 12, 2011 to remove bone spurs in his back. After returning home to Phoenix, Jenks noticed liquid coming from the incision on his back. The problem continued, and he was rushed into emergency surgery on December 30 to treat an infection that stemmed from the initial surgery.
“If I didn’t have it done immediately, the infection could have gotten into my spinal fluid and up to my brain, and who knows what could have happened then? I could not be here right now,” Jenks said from Fort Myers on Thursday.
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“I don’t know whose fault it was, but there was an error done inside,” he said. “I had four bone spurs on my spine and we talked about taking the top two out. The third one was started but not finished, so basically there was a serrated edge that sliced me open in two different spots and I was leaking spinal fluid. It just pulled off the bottom of my incision and blew up on me, which caused an infection to climb up that incision and now I had an infection in my spine. It was a combination of ‘everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.’”
Jenks was also diagnosed with a Pulmonary Embolism in September, which delayed his back surgery. He knew he was in for a long off-season before the season ended, but he never could have imagined what happened.
“The worst part about it was having the two surgeries so close together,” he said. “Everything was barely healing and we had to slice through it all over again. The second one was very, very painful. After the first one, at the two-and-a-half-week mark, I was feeling great. Everything was on track to where it was supposed to be and then that happened. The second one, my muscles were all torn open and I was basically laid up in bed and couldn’t function.”
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Now the 30-year-old is just trying to get healthy. He showed up to camp much slimmer than the 275-lbs he was listed at last season. While the earliest he would likely return would be around June or July, Jenks is confident he will be back out there.
“I’m very hopeful,” Jenks said. “I’m hoping the second surgery went well and it’s going to take. There’s nothing I can do now but be here, rehab and try to do everything I can to be out there.”
He also wants to make up for his 2011 season, which saw him go 2-2 with a 6.32 ERA, allowing 22 hits and walking 13 in just 15.2 innings pitched.
“It’s just so frustrating,” he said. “Obviously coming here, I never expected I would have a season like this. I just feel bad that coming here as a free agent, deciding and choosing to come here, and this is what the team is getting from me right now; (it) is disappointing and frustrating.”
Jenks was placed on the 60-day disable list last week to make room for Chris Carpenter, who Boston receiver from the Chicago Cubs in compensation for Theo Epstein.