MLB fines Jenks for 'message' pitch
Sox closer happily puts throwing-behind incident in past
CLEVELAND -- As far as Bobby Jenks is concerned, the incident involving his Saturday purpose pitch behind Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler and the ensuing Major League Baseball investigation of said pitch officially stands behind him.
"Unless you guys keep asking me about it," said Jenks with a laugh, talking with the media in front of his locker prior to Tuesday's game at Progressive Field.
Jenks was fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball on Tuesday -- which is being reported as $750 -- for his fastball that sailed past Kinsler's backside with two outs in the ninth inning of the White Sox 3-2 victory. One of the game's most reliable closers admitted after finishing off the win that while he certainly was not trying to injure Kinsler or even hit him to put the tying run on base in the form of a skilled baserunner, he was trying to send a message by going inside.
At that moment, Chicago batters had been hit by six Texas pitches over the past four head-to-head matchups, while Taylor Teagarden was the only Rangers' hitter to have been hit by the White Sox staff. Jenks made no apologies for protecting his teammates or for talking about his intentions.
Both teams were warned by home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale following the pitch.
Both Jenks and manager Ozzie Guillen were happy the matter was resolved without any suspensions being handed down.
"I was pretty pleased," Guillen said. "The way baseball is going right now, they've been severe with fines and suspending people. I think they did what they were supposed to do. Hopefully, this thing stays here and we don't have to deal with it. But they did what they were supposed to do."
"Yeah, that's nice. I get to keep a little extra money in my pocket," Jenks said. "But obviously, I'm happy about not being suspended, just for the fact if it turns into a situation where we need an extra pitcher out there that day. For those reasons, yes."
Even with this matter now a thing of the past, Jenks smiled and wouldn't give a definitive guarantee that this particular situation would never happen again. Not where protecting teammates is concerned for this bullpen leader.
"You know what? If the situation comes up, we'll have to see," said Jenks, who is perfect in seven save opportunities and had a 1.64 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11 innings entering Tuesday. "I go out there and do my job. They go out there and do their job. The front office is going to do their job.
"That's how I look at it. I figure they're going to do what they're going to do anyway. My job is go out there and pitch, and hopefully, I'll go out there tonight and get the save."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.