White Sox shed light on injury status of Nate Jones, Carlos Rodon

White Sox shed light on injury status of Nate Jones, Carlos Rodon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nate Jones felt a tingling sensation in his forearm and fingertips the past four or five times he was on the mound. He’d had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and remembered these were some of the signs he’d experienced.

It wasn’t a pleasant recall.

But Jones and the White Sox feel a sense of relief after an MRI taken Wednesday showed the reliever’s ligament is whole and he’s only experiencing minor nerve irritation. The White Sox officially placed Jones on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow neuritis retroactive to Monday. They’re hopeful his stay will be short. To make room for the purchase of pitcher David Holmberg’s contract, the White Sox transferred Carlos Rodon to the 60-day DL.

“I was getting some sensations down through my forearm and tingling in my fingertips,” Jones said. “That’s one of the symptoms with the Tommy John. I had thoughts there for a couple days, but I’m very confident. They said the ligament was completely in tact, nothing wrong with that, it’s just neuritis. Just let it calm down and get back after it.”

Though Rodon’s transfer to the 60-day DL may appear ominous, it’s anything but. While the rehab has been perhaps slower than both parties originally expected, Rodon has made steady progress, which includes his first time throwing off a mound since March earlier this week. The left-hander is scheduled to go off a mound again soon and eventually will begin a rehab assignment. But with perhaps three to four rehab starts needed, the White Sox don’t expect Rodon back before May 29, the first day he could be activated off the 60-day DL.

“Based upon the program we have laid out ahead of him, at this point, we don’t believe he’s going to be completed with all of his eventually rehab starts by June 1,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “So, from an administrative standpoint, it made sense to go ahead and transfer his DL placement from 10-day to 60-day DL. He continues to progress in Arizona. At this point we do not have a specific when we know he’ll begin a rehab assignment, but he’s getting closer to that.”

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Jones, who’s 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings, is the third reliever to hit the DL. He joins Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka on the sideline. The White Sox also continue to be without Rodon and starter James Shields.

Even so, they entered Thursday with an American League-leading 3.24 ERA.

“I think they’re all stepping it up and taking advantage of opportunities they’re getting,” manager Rick Renteria said. “They’ve been effective. They’re commanding the zone, knock on wood, doing a really nice job of keeping us in ballgames.”

A minor-league invitee to camp, Holmberg will get the next opportunity.

A potential replacement when Rodon went down late in March, Holmberg was 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte. Holmberg has made 14 big league appearances, including 12 starts for Arizona and Cincinnati.

“I like where I’m at,” Holmberg said. “Working on a lot of stuff I worked on in Spring Training with the major league staff. It’s a lot of continuity to the staffs in Triple-A and the major leagues. We worked on the same kind of stuff. Worked on getting ground balls and just keep it rolling.”

Given where he thought this could be headed, Jones is satisfied with his diagnosis.

“Once you start talking about the forearm elbow area, it’s a little scary,” Jones said. “But after the MRI and I came in yesterday and they looked at it, I feel that with just a little rest, a couple days off, and then back on the throwing program I can get healthy again.”

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

MINNEAPOLIS -- Some guys played cards. The soccer ball got kicked around in spite of the close quarters in the visiting clubhouse. There was dancing. A magic trick or two was attempted. A few players even tried to get in a nap.

White Sox players found myriad ways to keep themselves occupied during Thursday’s draining 4-hour, 50-minute rain delay -- the longest in Minnesota Twins history.

Yet despite not knowing what time the game may start, White Sox players found a way to overcome the uncertainty and stay engaged. Similar to May 26 when the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers was cancelled, the White Sox figured out how to go from zero to 60 in mere seconds. Though there’s no exact formula for success, the White Sox seem to have figured out a way to endure the elements and get out quickly. On early Thursday evening, the White Sox overcame the rain and misery to jump ahead of the Minnesota Twins en route to a 9-0 victory at Target Field.

“We keep it real loose whether,” veteran third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We have a good time. We enjoy each other’s company. Win lose or draw, tomorrow’s a new day. Today we kept working hard and we knew we had a game to play and eventually we were going to play it. We turned it on at the right moment.”

Jose Quintana saw so much of his iPad that eventually he had to turn it off out of sheer boredom. Thursday’s starting pitcher was almost able to complete two feature-length movies during the rain delay. Quintana, who excelled with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 scoreless innings, watched ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and ‘Get Out’ on his iPad during the delay.

While he liked the action movie, Quintana wasn’t as fond of the latter, though he admits he’s not a big fan of horror movies.

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“I think it was bad because too much time in front of the iPad,” Quintana said. “It made me bored.

“I just tried to stay relaxed, focused on the game. … Tried to come back and work a little bit. It’s a little hard, but we don’t have control so stay focused on the game.”

Whereas the White Sox determined when they played last month at home -- they cancelled Game 1 of a doubleheader at 1 p.m. and pushed the second game back to 8 p.m. because of rain -- this time was in the Twins’ hands. The forecast called for rain all afternoon before things cleared up around 5 p.m.

While the White Sox were in limbo as to when they would play, they had a pretty good idea that eventually they would.

“It’s miserable,” Frazier said. “You try and find some things to do, play cards, hang out with the guys. If you had a set time it would help. But we came out banging in that first inning. It’s huge.”

White Sox manager Rick Renteria is impressed with how his team has handled both long days. The White Sox also defeated the Tigers 8-2 on May 26th. While Renteria and his coaching staff spent a lot of his time preparing for their upcoming home series against the Oakland A’s, he’s pleased with how his players managed themselves through the uncertainty.  

“They’re the ones who are dealing with the chaos,” Renteria said. “They’re the ones who play the game and who have to have their minds to be ready to go out and perform. They’ve been able to respond well. It’s part of who they are, their character, and hopefully it’s something they continue to be able to do and build on.”

Jose Quintana turns in stellar outing as White Sox crush Twins in series finale

Jose Quintana turns in stellar outing as White Sox crush Twins in series finale

MINNEAPOLIS -- Guess who’s back?

Jose Quintana turned in the kind of game on early Thursday evening that reminds you why he has been one of baseball’s top pitchers the past few seasons. Working with a swing-and-miss curveball/changeup combo, Quintana waited out a near five-hour delay to produce a stellar outing.

Quintana struck out nine batters in 6 2/3 scoreless innings as the White Sox avoided a sweep with a 9-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 27,684 at Target Field. Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier and Matt Davidson all homered for the White Sox, who finished with 18 hits and a 3-3 mark on their road trip. Even though it’s clear his crisp stuff makes all the difference, Quintana joked that the real key was another heaping of early run support. The White Sox have produced nine first-inning runs in Quintana’s last two starts.

“Really good,” Quintana said of the run support. “So shhhhhh.”

Quintana lately has been equally as good as his offense.

After making several baby steps in his past few starts, Quintana ran wild in the series finale against a Twins team that he has always struggled against. While he worked at a deliberate pace, Quintana never got into trouble facing a team against whom he was 6-8 with a 4.28 ERA in his career.

The left-hander used a nasty, biting curveball and a changeup that dropped off the edge along with sharp fastball command to keep Minnesota hitters off balance.

“Just commanding the strike zone, early strikes and being able to use his breaking ball and changeup a little more effectively,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He finished some hitters with some fastballs underneath that had a little life. I thought that was effective because he used some of his secondary pitches to get them off the fastball, and he was able to sneak a ball in there here and there to do what he needed to do. It was very good.” 

Quintana struck out one batter in each of the first five innings before he picked up steam. He fanned two each in the sixth and seventh innings and is averaging a career best 8.97 strikeouts per nine innings this season. He said he gained confidence with his changeup as the game went along, especially against Miguel Sano, whom he struck out three times.

Quintana said he’s recently worked to get better extension on his changeup. He threw it 15 times on Thursday for nine strikes, including three whiffs, according to BrooksBaseball.net.

The 2016 All-Star pitcher never allowed a man past second base in a 113-pitch effort and allowed five hits and walked none.

Quintana has a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts as he’s allowed 19 hits and six earned runs in 24 innings. He has walked eight and struck out 24.

“With the changeup it’s the same release point with fastball and changeup,” Quintana said. “Today I had a lot of confidence in my changeup, especially late. … The heavy hitters like Sano and the other guys, it worked really good. So I’m happy.”

The offense provided Quintana with another early round of unbridled joy in the first inning with five more runs. Six days after they produced an early four-spot for Quintana against Toronto, the White Sox topped themselves.

Showing no signs of malaise after a 290-minute rain delay, Abreu and Frazier each blasted two-run homers off Minnesota’s Nik Turley to put the White Sox up 4-0. With two outs and Turley already gone, Adam Engel singled off reliever Buddy Boshers to make it 5-0 in the first.

Though he’s relatively unfamiliar with big innings, Quintana apparently has already developed a routine.

“He’s moving around,” Frazier said. “He’s got to stay loose. He’s one of those guys who can’t stay still for the whole game. When it’s long innings like that he goes in the cage and stays loose and comes back out and he’s the first one out there ready to go.”

The White Sox weren’t ready to quit after their big first. They added on as Kevan Smith and Engel each singled in runs in the third to give Quintana a seven-run cushion. Engel finished with four hits and Smith tied a career high with three.

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Davidson increased the lead to 8-0 in the fifth inning with a 427-foot blast off Craig Breslow, his 17th homer. Davidson also singled, doubled and walked. The White Sox scored once more in the seventh when Tim Anderson (two hits) doubled in a run off Breslow.

After they produced 22 runs of support for Quintana in his first 13 starts this season, the White Sox have scored 20 in his last two.

“Let’s keep doing the same,” Quintana said. “It’s really good. Early support is really good.”

The White Sox might say the same about having their top pitcher back at his best.