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.”