Jenks adds changeup to repertoire
New pitch gives hard-throwing Sox closer a new dimension
CHICAGO -- As if hitting Bobby Jenks wasn't tough enough already -- something the hitters who went down during his 41 straight retired last year can attest to -- he is now featuring a changeup more frequently in order to complete the closing picture.
If nothing else, the pitch gives the opposition something else to think about with Jenks on the mound.
"I've been working on it all spring," Jenks said. "I'm not saying it's something to be used every day, but I've shown it and it's in the [scouting] report."
Jenks saved each of his first three 2008 opportunities, although he put two runners on base in each of his last two games against Detroit. But the hard-throwing right-hander, who has established himself as one of the game's top finishers, also knows what he needs to do to stop a ninth-inning rally before it gets started.
In listening to Jenks talk about his previous two saves, it becomes clear that he continues to be a true student of his craft. Jenks has explained before how he no longer gets by on raw talent alone, working to the hitters' respective weaknesses, along with his god-given ability, to record three straight 40-save season. Jenks also continues to strive to become a complete pitcher in all game situations.
"It's one of those things where I'm kind of riding the luck and trying to get a few of these types of saves early," said Jenks, who has yet to allow a run. "Like I said in spring, my goals are the same as last year.
"I want to be as consistent as I can, including non-save situations. If I go out there with a lead of three runs or less, my mentality is to stay strong and do what I have to do. It's the other spots where I'm still working."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.