Bobby Jenks said recently that he hopes to someday pitch in the majors again. If the former Chicago White Sox closer accomplishes his goal, it’ll mark a comeback of epic proportions.
Jenks, who last pitched in the majors with the Boston Red Sox in 2011, told CSNChicago.com over the weekend that things got pretty serious as he battled depression and an addiction to pain medication.
“I literally was close to death. Not just scared to death. I was close,” Jenks said.
Jenks, who said he has been clean and sober for 18 months, was arrested in March 2012 for driving under the influence. The incident added to a rocky Boston tenure that saw the burly right-hander appear in just 19 games after signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Red Sox. Jenks, a two-time All-Star closer with the White Sox, posted a 6.32 ERA in 15 2/3 innings with the Red Sox in 2011.
“They will fool you like no other,” Jenks said of painkillers. “They will make you think that you’re in control of everything. When you try to put them away, that’s when you realize you have no control at all. That’s where the realization came in. I woke up and thought that I needed them then. I didn’t want them. I needed them.”
Jenks clearly hit rock bottom — both on the field and off — during his stint with the Red Sox, but the 32-year-old appears to have gotten his life back on track. Jenks has had three back surgeries and now isn’t ruling out a big league return.
“It’s like waking up all over again,” Jenks said. “I have done a lot of things in my life that don’t make me very proud, but I don’t regret them, because without them I wouldn’t be sitting here today sharing anything that I can with anybody. It made me who I am right now. For that, I am grateful.”
Jenks has racked up 173 saves over his seven-year career. That number might someday rise, which is crazy considering the tough situation the reliever once faced.
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