Jenks gets into the drill
Plucky reliever sends a message
FORT MYERS, Fla. — After he missed the last 27 games of the 2010 season with the White Sox because of tendinitis in his right forearm, it stood to reason that fireballing reliever Bobby Jenks would ease into his first spring training with the Red Sox.
It was part of Jenks’s plan to “avoid that dead-arm feeling.’’
Yesterday morning, in his first simulated inning against live hitters, Jenks eased into it, all right.
Jenks plunked Brent Dlugach on the buttocks with his second pitch after the minor leaguer took Jenks’s first offering deep off the center-field fence. Manager Terry Francona, on hand to watch the session — which included John Lackey (30 pitches), Jon Lester (15), and Alfredo Aceves (25) — tried to stifle a laugh.
Asked if he were sending a message, Jenks said, “That’s part of it. I’m not there for them right now, they’re here for us. If somebody gets in the way while I’m trying to work inside, that’s just part of it.
“This is my first time seeing hitters this year, so one’s going to get away,’’ he added with a wink. “I’m glad it was down. I’m glad I didn’t miss up right there.’’
Had Ozzie Guillen been standing in the batter’s box, however, Jenks might have thrown at his former manager’s head. Especially after Guillen fired back yesterday at Jenks for comments the reliever made to the Chicago Tribune, saying of his time with the White Sox, “A lot of the stuff with Ozzie and the front office gets old. It has been a problem for a long time. It was a problem before last year. It’s going to be nice for me to see how things are done [in Boston].’’
Yesterday, Guillen told the media in Glendale, Ariz., “Thank God he wasn’t talking about the club. If Bobby was talking about the club, I would be on ESPN everywhere because I would rip his guts.’’
Guillen went on to say: “We don’t miss him. Ask 30 guys out there. By the way, I was asking for his number to talk to him about it, and nobody has his number. I bet you Tito [Francona] isn’t going to put up with the [stuff] we put up with here, because he did a lot of bad things last year. We lied for him. We protected him.
“He should look in the mirror and know he’s wrong,’’ Guillen added. “I respect his wife. I respect his kids. I’m not even mad. I wish I was mad about it because I [would] rip his throat [out].’’
Approached in the Red Sox clubhouse after yesterday’s 6-0 exhibition win over Boston College, Jenks said he believed his comments weren’t anything controversial in Chicago. “I want to stay out of it,’’ he said.
Curt Young, the new Red Sox pitching coach, was asked about Jenks’s personality after yesterday’s 20-pitch outing, which Jenks will repeat in two days before progressing to what he hopes will be the first of 8-10 spring training appearances.
“He’s a great guy, very personable and fun to talk to,’’ Young said. “Not knowing him from the other side, he seems like a guy who’d be unapproachable, but once you get to know him, a great guy.’’
If you don’t have to stand in and face him.
“Oh, yeah,’’ Young said with a laugh, “especially if you hit the first ball off him.’’
Picking right up In the afternoon game against BC, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia looked like they never had been away. Youkilis missed the last two months of the 2010 season with a right thumb injury and Pedroia all but two games of the last three months with a broken foot, but neither showed any ill effects. Youkilis had a three-run homer and a walk in two innings. He also made a spectacular diving stab at third base in the first inning on Garret Smith’s line drive. “I peaked too early with all the good stuff,’’ joked Youkilis, who will play tonight against the Twins while Pedroia will not. “It was good. It was fun to get back out there.’’ Pedroia played two innings and went 0 for 1 with a walk. “I wasn’t out there very long, but I felt good, my foot felt good,’’ said Pedroia, who was thrown out by BC second baseman Anthony Melchionda on a nice play up the middle. Said Francona, “It was nice to see both of them on the field running around, looking healthy.’’
Sweeping up The Sox completed a sweep by rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the nightcap to beat Northeastern, 13-2.
Ryan Maguire, a senior from Arlington, Mass., hit the first pitch of the game from Kyle Weiland over the fence in left. Ryan Salvucci, a sophomore from Quincy, Mass., made it 2-0 with an RBI groundout in the fourth inning.
The Sox scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth, two on a single by Jose Iglesias, who had two hits and three RBIs.
Jacoby Ellsbury returned to action after playing only 18 games last season because of fractured ribs.
“It felt good being out there and getting some at-bats and innings,’’ Ellsbury said after going 0 for 1 with a walk. “I feel [more] ahead of schedule than a normal spring training.’’
Mike Cameron, who had season-ending hernia surgery last August, was 0 for 2 in his return. He enjoyed just being on the field again and said his injury is manageable now.
“In the beginning of the day I feel real young and at the end of the day it lets me know this is where you’re at,’’ he said.
Gonzalez progressing Adrian Gonzalez took 25 swings off a tee and 25 soft-toss flips yesterday morning and felt fine, Francona said. He will take today off before resuming hitting tomorrow . . . Carl Crawford, who had to attend to personal business yesterday in Houston, and J.D. Drew will play tomorrow vs. the Twins . . . Catchers Jarrod Saltamacchia and Jason Varitek will begin alternating games today . . . Hector Luna, a first baseman/third baseman, will be held out of action for a few days because of a nagging groin. With a shortage of healthy first basemen in camp, Francona said he likely would give Jed Lowrie some time at the position.
Peter Abraham of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.