Chicago White Sox

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.”

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets right here]

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.”

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Confidence continues to build after Lucas Giolito's latest strong start

Nothing is proven, Lucas Giolito will have to come back next season and show he can do this once again. But another huge development in the White Sox rebuild has been the continued development and success of Giolito late in the season.

The young White Sox pitcher added another outstanding performance to the ledger on Sunday afternoon.

Giolito pitched seven sharp innings and helped the White Sox officially avoid 100 losses in an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. He allowed a run and five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. It’s another step in a nice turnaround for Giolito, who struggled at Triple-A earlier in the year.

“I feel like this is where I can pitch,” Giolito said. “I can pitch deep into games. I wouldn't really say awestruck or anything like that. I’d say that there’s a lot of struggles there earlier this year. I worked through those … I feel like getting the confidence back up, it’s all I really needed to feel comfortable and be ready to go.”

Some of the metrics would suggest Giolito is in line for a dropoff. While his earned-run average is 2.38, his Fielding Independent Pitching is 4.94. His xFIP is a little lower at 4.42. But the elevated numbers are in part due to Giolito not missing as many bats and striking out 6.75 batters per nine innings.

But Giolito’s big-league numbers also come at a time in which he has never pitched more. He has pitched a combined 174 innings this season, which dwarfs his previous high of 136 2/3 innings in 2016.

Despite the workload, the right-hander continues to bring good stuff. He got seven swings and misses and 10 called strikes with his four-seam fastball, which averaged 92.3 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

“He's got angle, he's got height,” manager Rick Renteria said “He's got good angle so that creates, believe or not, some deception and he can ride it up out of the zone. And then he comes out from that angle with the breaking ball or his changeup. So the angle creates some pretty good deception.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign]

Giolito has filled up the strikezone since he reached the majors partly because of belief in his stuff. He’s thrown strikes on 63.4 percent of his pitches and was even better Sunday with 65 of 98 offerings. The other part of it is trust in his defense, which made several spectacular plays behind him.

Giolito knows this is only the beginning. But he feels good after a stretch in which he has quality starts in five of six games. Over the stretch he has a 1.83 ERA and 25 hits allowed with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.

“My confidence is there,” Giolito said. “I trust my stuff, I trust my pitches. There are things to work on, things I’m talking to (Don Cooper) about. There’s always stuff to improve, for sure. I’d say that just the confidence and everything is right where it needs to be so I’m going to continue to try and pitch like I am.”

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

Conditioned for success: Avisail Garcia vows to work even harder in offseason after breakout campaign

When searching for why Avisail Garcia has had sustained success this season, you can’t overlook his fitter frame.

The White Sox outfielder entered a breakout 2017 season approximately 18 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. Garcia, who’s hitting .331, doubled, homered and drove in three runs as the White Sox topped the Kansas City Royals 8-1 at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday afternoon. Given the way he has performed this season, the first-time All-Star said he plans to work even harder this offseason.

“One hundred percent (better),” Garcia said. “I want to keep losing a little bit more. I want to feel way better next year.”

Garcia has provided the White Sox with a boatload of feel-good moments this season. He cut down two base runners in Friday night’s wild victory over the Royals, including on the final play of the game. Overall, Garcia has felt a difference in the field and it’s shown up in his defensive numbers. He headed into Sunday worth 2 Defensive Runs Saved after he finished the 2015 season at minus-11.

But even more of Garcia’s production has come at the plate, where he reached the 80-RBI mark on Sunday. He followed a one-out Yoan Moncada double off Ian Kennedy in the first inning with an opposite-field blast to right field, Garcia’s 18th homer.

Six innings later, Garcia doubled in a run. He’s hitting .331/.379/.504 on the season and entered Sunday worth 3.5 f-Wins Above Replacement.

“It seems likes he’s always finding barrel and like, man, that’s impressive to go up there, have disciplined at-bats and consistently get the barrel of the bat to the ball,” pitcher Lucas Giolito said.

Garcia’s play has offered him more encouragement to continue his efforts. Though he was adamant at the All-Star Game he wanted to duplicate his first-half efforts, Garcia suffered a series of injuries that bothered him throughout July. But he’s found comfort at the plate once again and knows how important a role his improved conditioning has played.

“The offseason, I have to do the same even harder,” Garcia said. “I want to do my best every year so now I have the ability to be here and trying to help my team. Just have to keep working.”