NEW YORK --- Jesse Crains tight shoulder afforded Nate Jones another big opportunity on Friday night and the rookie shined.
Jones earned a hold in Fridays 14-7 victory as he entered a three-run game in the bottom of the eighth inning and struck out two in a scoreless frame. It was the fifth hold for Jones --- 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA in 30 games --- earned this season and the second time he pitched with the lead in the eighth inning of a game still in doubt.
When I first came up I never imagined that, Jones said. But the job is still the same. You still have to go out there, throw strikes, get ahead and get guys out and try to do your best putting up zeroes. (This is) all new to me. Whatever they have me do, Im more than happy to do it. It just has evolved into this and Im thankful.
The right-hander said he and the other rookies in the bullpen have benefited from the trust shown to them by White Sox manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper.
Both Coop and Robin show a lot of confidence in us, Jones said. It does nothing but make you have confidence in yourself.
Carlos Rodon played catch in front of Don Cooper on Monday afternoon but only added to the intrigue surrounding his health when he declined to talk to the media.
On the 10-day disabled list with a biceps strain, the White Sox said Rodon continues to make progress in his rehab program. Cooper said the third-year pitcher felt and looked fine as he played catch in left field. But neither he nor manager Rick Renteria offered many more details on when Rodon may return or even when he could throw off a mound.
"He looked like he played catch good," Cooper said. "His throwing program is progressing. He felt fine. He threw the ball fine. That's kind of where we are at. He threw fine and move on to the next."
Rodon is in town for several days to be observed by the White Sox. On Friday, general manager Rick Hahn described the visit as a "routine follow-up visit." But other than making sure they're cautious with Rodon, the club hasn't been able to offer a specific timetable for their prized pitcher.
"I can't tell you in detail what the program is," Renteria said. "I know it involves throwing and making sure he's getting treatments and making sure it's taken care of, the issue he had with his biceps. We know it's getting better."
But the improvement hasn't made the situation any easier to deal with. When they started him on a delayed program this spring, the White Sox had Rodon pegged for 33 starts and 200 innings. As of now, there's no certainty when he'll make his first turn and the calendar is nearing May.
"He's frustrated," Cooper said. "He wants to get through this, through all of it. We are just there to try to make sure he's doing things right and there's progression.
"Well, I mean we've already taken a lot of caution. He's important to us now and in the future. We wouldn't rush with him or anybody."
The White Sox have scored the second fewest runs in the American League while the Royals have scored the fewest.
So fans of offense may not find the three-game series between the White Sox and Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Sox have scored 55 runs in 17 games while the Royals have 46 runs in 18 games.
Dan Hayes and Siera Santos talk about what to expect from that series and give updates on Carlos Rodon's injury and timeline for his return and talk about when Yoan Moncada may get promoted from the minors.
Watch the video above to see those topics in the Honda Road Ahead.