FORT MYERS, Fla. — It appears reliever Bobby Jenks, who missed most of last season with assorted injuries, including a pulmonary embolism, may not be able to take part in spring training, according to manager Bobby Valentine.
“Bobby said he’d like to take one week at a time,” Valentine said. “That means he’s a long way about thinking baseball activities. He’s really had a terrible off-season health-wise. He’s a real back-burner guy. I don’t think we’ll see him in baseball activities for quite a while if at all this spring.”
Valentine also indicated the team may hold veteran Aaron Cook back based on his past shoulder problems. Newly-acquired Ross Ohlendorf will be in the same boat.
“Aaron Cook’s has had shoulder issues in the past where he’s come back too soon. He’s done the step-forward and two-step-back thing and we’re trying to prevent that from happening again. We‘re trying to get him to cruise on through. He’s not hurt just trying to learn from the past,” he said.
On lefty specialist Rich Hill, who is also coming back from Tommy John surgery: “Rich Hill will not pitch in games down here to the best of my guestimate. But he’s very recovered and on his way to pitching in games. I’ll bet he uses this month of March to get to the month of April where he’ll pitch in games to possibly, if everything is smooth, possibly get there in May,” Valentine said.
Are Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hill on similar paths?
“Yep. Pretty similar. I think Rich is throwing a little better. I think recovery and healing process is very similar and I think it could be a similar pace,” Valentine said.
Valentine spoke about Kevin Youkilis and admitted the third baseman was limited defensively last season because of his injuries.
“I think he was limited, percentage-wise I don’t know how to answer that. His ability to turn and throw and turn and catch were not what he want it to be I’m sure. Someone mentioned how did Mike (Aviles) look. How Youk looks is going to affect the left side of the infield and the other side is going to be the shortstop, so it’s going to be important how he moves.
“Statistically, I have digested stats on our play at third base. I think he was about three balls to the minus side to his right and five balls to the minus side to his left. And two balls plus coming in, which surprised me statistically. I was a little enlightened by that.”
Valentine said he has reached a decision on whether there will be alcohol in the clubhouse, but wouldn’t share it with the media until he tells the players.
He said the spring training rules for the team will be similar to last season but said players will not be able to drive to away games on their own. They will have to take the team bus.
“The manager and coaches will drive and at times there might be a player there because at times there might be a (B) game that I’m gonna watch and the bus leaves early,” Valentine said.
Valentine has also scheduled two “B” games, one with the Twins on March 1 and one with the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 7.
He said he’s been met with resistance on trying to add two innings to the games against Northeastern and Boston College to open the new stadium on March. Valentine said he may use his own pitchers on the college side to get them more work, mentioning Vicente Padilla and Carlos Silva as candidates to pitch.