Jenks' 'message' pitch under review
League investigating throw behind Rangers' Kinsler
CLEVELAND -- White Sox closer Bobby Jenks has not heard anything from Major League Baseball regarding his purpose pitch to Ian Kinsler, coming with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of Saturday's 3-2 victory over Texas. It's a pitch currently being reviewed by the league.
The problem for Jenks started when he threw the fastball behind Kinsler's backside on the first pitch, despite the hard-throwing right-hander featuring impeccable control. But Jenks said after the game that he was trying to send a message by throwing inside after the White Sox had six hit batsmen in four games against the Rangers.
Asked Monday about having regrets over making his intentions public, Jenks said he would change nothing.
"That's how I felt about it," Jenks said. "If there's something on my mind, yeah, I'll say it. But again, I wasn't trying to hit him. If they'll investigate that, they'll see that. It wasn't a dirty pitch. It wasn't up. It was right at his butt. That's all I can say.
"You don't want to see anyone getting hurt. My intentions were not to hurt the guy, like I said before, but I was protecting my guys as well."
For some reason, the White Sox have been pegged as headhunters during Ozzie Guillen's managerial regime. Maybe it stems from Guillen's outspoken nature in following the code of the game, meaning that if he perceives one of his players has been hit intentionally, he will do the same and then admit to it afterwards.
It's also a depiction that could stem from a game in Texas on June 14, 2006, when Vicente Padilla hit catcher A.J. Pierzynski twice, and Guillen sent Sean Tracey into the game to hit Hank Blalock. Tracey was unable to accomplish the task twice, with an angry Guillen pulling him from the game after Blalock grounded out, followed by a Guillen dugout outburst.
But raw numbers certainly don't lend credence to this theory. Since 2004, the White Sox have been hit by a pitch 331 times, while only hitting an opponent 270 times -- the fewest in all of baseball during that span. The White Sox have been hit by a pitch 16 times in 2009, the third-most in the American League and fifth overall in all of baseball. Basically, Guillen only takes care of business when he feels business needs to be addressed.
"I'm not going to hit anyone when they try to pitch inside. I never will. I explained to you yesterday why, because I'm not playing," Guillen said. "But if I see the guy throw at my guy, I'm going to throw at your guy. I will. Major League Baseball knows about it. We had a conversation about it.
"One thing about it. It's one thing to hit the guy and it's one thing to give a warning that enough is enough. I see a lot of my hitters almost with broken hands on back-to-back days. I never retaliate because I think it was on purpose. But in the meanwhile, if I'm the hitter, and I keep getting hit and my pitchers don't protect me, I don't want to play for them.
"Am I outspoken about it? Maybe it's my fault because every time I hit somebody, I say, 'Yes, I did.' I got in trouble. I paid my dues. I paid my money. They sent me to correctional houses. But in the meanwhile, fans have to know what's going on in the game.
"I see other managers hitting people left and right and they say, 'We don't try to do it. I'm not like another manager when they hit people every other day and they hide behind the bush like we try to pitch inside and we don't mean it. Oh, really?"
Guillen believes the warning issued to both teams after Jenks' pitch was punishment enough, as shown by Sunday's game being played without a hit batsman. The White Sox manager, along with Jenks, also doesn't understand the investigation part of this situation.
"Whether I did miss my spot, yeah, it went behind him," Jenks said. "That's where I pitch, guys. I throw fastballs in."
"Investigating? It's not a crime. I mean, Bobby didn't even get close to hitting him," Guillen said. "But they have their way to do their stuff and we are still waiting to see what decision they make and then we see what happens."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.