Cooper expects step up in 2010 from Jenks

Pitching coach Don Cooper tempers his look to the future with the fact that the White Sox still have two games remaining to play to complete the 2009 campaign.

But Cooper already has started putting together thoughts about individual improvements to benefit the whole staff in 2010, and one of those targets is closer Bobby Jenks.

“Bobby needs to pick up next year with a better season than he had this year,” said Cooper, when asked to assess the White Sox staff prior to Friday’s series opener in Detroit. “Bobby has run into a few things this year.”

Jenks battled through problems with kidney stones this season that were basically out of his control. He also was shut down last week with a strained right calf. Cooper mentioned an ongoing back issue, though, that might have contributed to Jenks’ 3.71 ERA and 29 saves in 35 chances–still good numbers but not equal to his lofty previous standards.

“Bobby has had a little bit of a back issue for two years and we can’t put our finger on exactly why,” Cooper said. “It’s kind of a freak thing. And Bobby had the calf thing.

“We have to look into somehow, someway trying to avoid two of those things because I don’t know if there’s much you can do about kidney stones. We have to try to look into each individual guy and what can we do to put them in better position so we don’t lose their availability.”

The White Sox closer, who has 146 career saves in 168 opportunities, could once again be the subject of offseason trade rumors. He figures to get an increase through arbitration from his $5.6 million salary in 2009, and the White Sox have another viable closer option in Matt Thornton. But Cooper is operating under the assumption that Jenks will be back as his last line of pitching defense, looking for ways to strengthen his attack.

8 Comments

I think we all expect Jenks to step it up. I still have faith in him.

Jenks used to be gold. get him back to that, and you would never even think of trading a golden pitcher. afterall what team is this the cubs?. i dont think so. we dont do crap like that.

Jenks used to be gold. get him back to that, and you would never even think of trading a golden pitcher. afterall what team is this the cubs?. i dont think so. we dont do crap like that.

Maybe bobby should lose 30 lbs, that would help leg and back issues

wonder if coop has read “odd man out” by m. mccarthy. many years ago when the author was in the low minors his teammate was bobby. bobby told him if you fake a back injury they wont make you run, etc. i’ve had my doubts about his “bad back” ever since i read the book.

Yes, I think Bobby is a little out of shape but I also think he hasn’t had the chance to work enough this year. How many “saves” did he blow? 3-4? thats not bad considering his opportunities. The SOX just didn’t have all that many close games to need him to step up. What you have to understand about a closer is they work better under pressure and they don’t work that well 8 games back and pitching every 6-7 games. The problem is he blew 3 out of 25 or so and not 3 out of 40 or 50 like we’re used to. There just wasn’t that many close games. Thornton is not our answer for a closer, we need him for 7&8, 25-30 pitches… one of the best set-up men in MLB. Dotel and Linebrink can find a new home for all I care. I loved them in 08 but they dropped the ball this year. I think williams and Pena did a better job. Oh, and by the way, I was at the perfect game in the centerfield seats right next to “the catch” but Mark…. spread it out bud and get a 16-18win year in ’10 for us! Combined with Peavy, Danks, and floyd, that should be at least 70 W’s for us. Whos fifth? Garcia looks good! SOX PRIDE!!!!! I will miss you Jermaine, Possibly PODS, PK, and Wise… thanks for that catch!, I was 20′ away! Good luck Thome… Get that ring…I grew up in Peoria so I have to show love!

OK, 29of35, still…. he (and the rest of the pitching staff), needs some run support!

i think the sox look great for next year and the future. with jake peavy for a full season all of our starters all drop back in the rotation and a healthy calos quenton and beckham and alex rios for the entire season we should be goig to the playoffs next year. we also have alot of future grat players coming up besides beckham gets and alexi we have jordan danks and that kid we drafted this year from LSU the sox have a brite future coming u wait and see we will have another world series in the next 2-3 years. GO SOX!!!!!

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