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Bobby Jenks opens up about brush with death, painkiller addiction

Jan 26, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT

Bobby Jenks

Bobby Jenks helped etch his name in history as part of the 2005 world champion White Sox roster. It seemed like the sky was the limit for the right-hander, who struck out 50 and unintentionally walked 12 in 39 1/3 innings in 2005, his rookie campaign. By 2009 and 2010, his effectiveness had been lost and the White Sox didn’t make an effort to keep him around, instead allowing him to walk into free agency. The Red Sox snapped him up for the 2011 season. Jenks suffered a pulmonary embolism, serious in and of itself, but it also delayed surgery on his back.

Jenks opened up to CSN Chicago about what happened back then, including a brush with death and an addiction to painkillers. The whole thing is worth your time, but here is a selection:

“I ended up opening myself up in two different spots in my spine and I was leaking spinal fluid very heavily about a week after my surgery. I didn’t realize it at the time until I went to go sit down on the couch, it literally felt that one of my kids was behind me and had dumped a glass of water down my back.”

What the former White Sox star didn’t know was just how bad the problem really was.

“My back was literally like a faucet left on and fluid was just coming out. I went to see a few doctor friends in Arizona and they immediately told me, ‘go to the emergency room right now’ and I went in for emergency that night (with Dr. Chris Young). Without that I could’ve gone to bed that night and not woken up.”

Thankfully, Jenks is better now and he’s been sober for 18 months. In addition, Jenks says he would like to attempt to pitch his way back into the big leagues before he officially calls it quits.

  1. missingdiz - Jan 26, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    I hope he can be effective and make it back. But even if he doesn’t it’s important to try. Pride is not always a bad thing. It’s all too easy for us fans to think all those guys have it made.

    • happytwinsfan - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:01 PM


    • mick2014 - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      His bleached goatee was a bad career move!

  2. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 26, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    I loved him as a redsox

    • happytwinsfan - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      really? i hated him as a whitesox.

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      What are your feelings on black socks

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        twins play whitesox many times. shoeless joe? we’re cool.

      • esracerx46 - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        I prefer those white ones with the red stripe on the toes

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:14 AM

        Well, at least someone understood my terrible sock joke

    • jwbiii - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Really? He pitched well against the Yankees in 2011. The Blue Jays cuffed him around pretty good, though.

  3. yordo - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    What the hell does spinal fluid taste like?

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