Jones settling into groove in the Sox bullpen

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Jones settling into groove in the Sox bullpen

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

If anything encouraging for the White Sox came from a 5-0 loss to Kansas City on Saturday, it might be the performance of rookie reliever Nate Jones.

Jones threw 2 13 innings in a near-perfect appearance after entering for starter Chris Sale to begin the sixth inning. Jones struck out four and allowed only one hit in the longest outing of his brief career. His strikeout total is also a career high.

Jones said he has settled the nerves he experienced early in the season.

Those first couple times, Im not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous coming in, he said Sunday prior to the Sox-Royals series finale at U.S. Cellular Field. Ive calmed down a little bit and learned to trust my stuff, and do my thing out there.

In 14 13 innings spread over 10 games, Jones has a 1.26 ERA with seven walks and 14 strikeouts. He has allowed 10 hits and only two earned runs. Opponents are hitting .196 against him.

He continues to improve, manager Robin Ventura said. Thats one of the things with the young guys we have, youre bringing them into situations that you want them to gain experience and the feel for it every time they go out. You can see him gradually getting that. Im gaining a lot of confidence in putting him in different situations.

Understanding his role in the bullpen has been a big reason why he's settled down.

After the fifth, sixth inning, I know to be ready, Jones said. Every game, it doesnt matter what the score is, Ive become accustomed to being ready, getting stretched out, and being ready for that phone call.

Jones worked in spring training to incorporate a changeup and curveball into his repertoire. But he said everything still works off his fastball.

Once I get my fastball established I come in and try to throw my offspeed for strikes, he said. When I do (that) it makes it a lot harder on the hitters. It keeps them off balanced.

Jones also benefits from his relative anonymity among American League hitters. But he knows it wont be long before that changes. He said a pitcher must work to stay ahead of those adjustments.

You definitely hold an advantage because nobody has seen you before, Jones said. But once they start making that adjustment to you, you have to start adjusting as well. When that time comes, Ill do that. For now Im just going to do what I do, go out there and throw strikes.

Fire fans swarm O'Hare to greet Bastian Schweinsteiger

Fire fans swarm O'Hare to greet Bastian Schweinsteiger

In the age of social media you can track something like Bastian Schweinsteiger's flight to Chicago in almost real-time.

The Chicago Fire publicized Schweinsteiger's Tuesday arrival in Chicago, giving fans details of when his plane was expected to arrive and at what terminal.

First, Schweinsteiger and his former tennis player wife, Ana Ivanovic, both tweeted photos to their millions of followers about their trip.

Once they arrived, the mob scene at O'Hare was on. Schweinsteiger was greeted by hundreds of fans.

Check out the video above for some footage of Schweinsteiger's arrival.

He will be introduced formally with a press conference on Wednesday at 3 p.m. from the Fire Pitch in Chicago. The press conference will air on CSN+ and be streamed live on CSNChicago.com.

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.