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Bobby Jenks reaches $5.1 million settlement after career-ending injury

Bobby Jenks pitched for the White Sox from 2005-11. | Jon Sall/Sun-Times

Former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks has agreed to accept a $5.1 million settlement from Massachusetts General Hospital and a doctor he says caused his career-ending spine injury.

The Boston Globe reported that Jenks reached an out-of-court settlement Wednesday with the Boston hospital and the doctor the day before his medical malpractice suit was scheduled to start.

Told it was his best chance to return to pitching, Jenks had spinal decompression surgery at Massachusetts General in December, 2011. In the aftermath of the surgery, Jenks experienced painful headaches and issues with leaking spinal fluid.

Jenks, 38, says the 2011 surgery was botched while the doctor was simultaneously overseeing another operation.

The hospital said in a statement that Jenks received “high-quality and appropriate care” and that “overlapping surgery played no role in this case.”

Lawyers for the doctor did not respond to the Globe’s requests for comment.

Jenks played six seasons with the White Sox from 2005-10 and one injury-shortened year with the Red Sox in 2011. As a White Sox rookie in 2005, he recorded two saves in the World Series, getting the final out of their clinching victory in Game 4 against the Astros. Jenks notched 173 saves for the White Sox and earned $26.4 million during his career.

Jenks appeared in 19 games with the Red Sox in 2011 before suffering a back injury.

“Never picking up a baseball again is absolutely devastating,” he said. “I was living my dream, and it was taken away from me.”