After waiting until spring training and failing to land a job to his satisfaction, free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt has told major league clubs that he might pull a Roger Clemens and return midseason, according to a baseball source.
Besides the whole, "can't tell if trolling" angle, there's the implication that Oswalt is actually more willing to sit at home in Mississippi working out for the next three or four months rather than pitch with the Red Sox. Nothing is set in stone, of course, as the source isn't Oswalt, who planned a statement for Thursday.
[Update 3:07 pm] Oswalt's agent Bob Garber says that Oswalt will indeed sit out and wait for a while.
The Red Sox will still have the same financial flexibility they do now when that moment comes -- assuming they don't find someone else, now that it's very clear Oswalt would rather not pitch than pitch for Boston right now -- so when Oswalt is ready to pitch in the majors once more, they'll be here if necessary. At this point, though, Red Sox fans can be forgiven for rooting hard for Aaron Cook or Felix Doubront or whomever to lock down the fifth starter role while simultaneously hoping Oswalt has to land a gig with a team on the fringe this July.
Bobby Jenks had a rough winter, but it was apparently far more traumatizing -- and life-threatening -- than any of us knew. That second surgery he had turned out to be an emergency procedure. An emergency precipitated by his previous surgery, in which a bone spur was left exposed in his spine, slicing open Jenks from the inside-out and causing him to leak spinal fluid:
"I don't know whose fault it was but there was an error done inside. When I went in [for consultation], we had talked about it. I had four bone spurs basically on my spine. We talked about having the top two out and the third one was started and not finished. Basically, there was a serrated edge that sliced me open in two different spots and I was leaking spinal fluid. It just pulled at the bottom of my incision and just kind of blew up on me which caused an infection to climb up that incision wound, so now I had an infection in my spine."
You might not like Jenks because he didn't pitch well last year. You might have a strange dislike for him because he spent the winter rehabbing from surgeries and could miss significant time in 2012. Regardless of your feelings of the man or his abilities, though, I'm glad to be writing this story about a recovered Jenks, rather than one about what could have happened to him. This is serious, life-threatening stuff, and Jenks might take legal action as is his right.
Not too long ago, we discussed what Bobby Valentine might think of Red Sox shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias, given Valentine managed another extreme case of defense-first in Rey Ordonez with the Mets. Wonder no more, as Alex Speier got a hold of Valentine to pick his brain on the topic:
"I didn't do a very good job of developing Rey into an offensive player. Maybe I can learn from what I didn't do. That was a challenge to get offensive production out of Rey Ordonez," said Valentine. "Rey wasn't a very receptive person. Rey didn't adapt or receive well. It seems that Jose would be a little different than that."
Valentine speaks his mind, and it's a significant change from the reserved and protective Terry Francona. But it seems like he's also challenging players to be the best they can be when he speaks like this. We'll have to wait and see if Iglesias can answer the call of improvement that Ordonez never did, but there's reason to hope he can.
The Red Sox signed Hunter Jones today and sent him to minor league camp. Jones, if you remember, was a Red Sox farmhand from 2005 through 2009 after he was signed as an amateur free agent in 2005. He spent the 2010 season with the Marlins Triple-A affiliate after he was dealt along with Jose Alvarez in exchange for Jeremy Hermida.
Jones' ability to miss bats vanished at the upper levels of the minors, and his control is a bit iffy, but that looks like it will be more Pawtucket's problem than that of Boston, given the bullpen depth the Red Sox are sitting on.