ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For the third time in as many months, the Red Sox have placed Bobby Jenks on the disabled list.
According to Terry Francona, Jenks experienced pain in his left mid-back area, similar to his previous injury in terms of both feeling and location, while he was warming up here last night. He is en route back to Boston, where he will be examined tomorrow evening by team medical director Dr. Tom Gill.
To take Jenks’ place, the Red Sox have called up lefty reliever Randy Williams from Triple-A Pawtucket. And to make room for Williams on the 40-man roster, lefty Tommy Hottovy has been designated for assignment. Hottovy spent a few weeks with the Red Sox last month, compiling a 6.75 ERA in eight appearances.
The Red Sox haven’t gotten a prolonged look at Jenks after signing him to a two-year, $12 million contract last winter. He missed 27 games in May with a right biceps strain and 17 games last month with back tightness. In 19 appearances, Jenks is 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
“He’s an important part of our bullpen as a complement to (Daniel) Bard or the seventh inning, however you want to put it,” Francona said. “Fortunately, (Matt) Albers has been tremendous, (Alfredo) Aceves has been really good, too. But that other arm is a huge arm. (Jenks) is not just a thrower. He can manipulate the ball. He spins it. He’s got a good feel for the game. We just haven’t had him out there healthy, and we miss that.”
Williams, 35, was 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA for the PawSox. In particular, he has been deadly on left-handed hitters, who were only 3-for-22 against him (.136 average). He has previous major league experience with the Mariners, Padres, Rockies and White Sox. In 90 career appearances, he’s 3-3 with a 5.74 ERA.
“He’s been dominating left-handed hitters,” Francona said. “Velocity has been tremendous. It gives us that second lefty where we can match up. It’s kind of hard with one. Now, with the second one, that’s probably what his true calling is, matching up with lefties. We’ve wanted to get a look at him anyway. He’s kind of that guy where you send him to Triple-A and say, ‘Hey, do your job.’ Here it is.”