Jones looks to vets to get through struggles

Jones looks to vets to get through struggles
June 11, 2013, 7:45 pm
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Nate Jones doesn’t have the lengthy track record of Matt Thornton or Jesse Crain to rely upon when he struggles.

Unlike those veterans, Jones, though still highly confident, can’t say with 100 percent certainty he could match last season’s performance and his struggles are bound to end.

Not with the way he struggled.

Jones said Tuesday he didn’t feel like there was a much difference in the way he has pitched between this season and last. So the fact that his results varied by a significant amount had the normally easygoing Jones a little more tense than normal.

Over his last four outings, however, Jones has found it again and delivered six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts.

“It makes a world of difference, but you try not to let it affect you either way when you’re doing bad or you’re doing good,” Jones said. “You try to leave it at the field. But it is a better feeling because at the beginning of the season when I was struggling, I was still working hard. I was working hard and trying to throw strikes to the best of my ability and some of those were falling in for hits. It was a little bit of everything: bad luck, me walking guys and then it turned into one bad pitch in an outing would turn into runs.”

[More: De Aza settling in at the plate]

No matter how much he struggled, Jones did a good handling it, Thornton said. Jones has attributed much of the way he dealt with his struggles to watching Thornton and Crain and how they acted the same way on a daily basis no matter how they performed.

Thornton said it’s a lesson he has learned and has tried to pass on to younger relievers: no matter what, be prepared.

“You’ve got to explain to him it’s over,” Thornton said. “Good or bad, you can’t do anything about it once it’s done. That’s something I’ve learned over the years of being a major league relief pitcher is you’ve got to be ready to go the next day. You have to keep on working … Nate does a good job of bouncing back and being the same guy every single day.”

If Jones can replicate last season’s performance, when he finished with a 2.39 ERA, the White Sox have to feel like they again have a dominant bullpen because the right-hander fills a variety of roles. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said despite Jones' issues -- now 5.34, his ERA was up to 7.04 ERA on May 27 -- he wasn’t close to a demotion.

“He’s big for us out of that bullpen,” Ventura said. “To do that you really have to have something to fill that in with that would be an upgrade. I felt he was the best guy and (pitching coach Don Cooper) did too. You figure you can fix that. We’ve seen what he can do. I don’t know if it’s a sophomore slump or whatever you want to label it, but he has the stuff to be able to stay here for a long time.”

Wise improves

Outfielder Dewayne Wise could head out on a rehab assignment soon, Ventura said.

Wise was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring on June 2 after he appeared in only two games the previous week.

[More: Buehrle returns to Chicago with a sense of normalcy]

Wise is hitting .234 with a homer and three RBIs in 64 at-bats this season.

“Hopefully the next few days we can get him to Charlotte and kind of start him back playing again,” Ventura said. “He was out there earlier and looked good. It’s one of those that you go by how he’s feeling and he said he’s feeling a lot better.

Septimo off the 40-man roster

The White Sox 40-man roster remains at 39 after Leyson Septimo returned from the 60-day disabled list and was outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte. Septimo, who was 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA in 21 appearances in 2012, hasn’t played for the White Sox in 2013 after he began the season on the DL with a left shoulder strain. He has a 15.19 ERA in seven appearances for Charlotte this season.

Briefly

-- The White Sox became the last team in the majors to score in double digits when they plated 10 runs on Monday in their 62nd game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time it took the White Sox longer to score at least 10 runs in a game was in 1968 (63 games).

-- The organization’s Double-A Birmingham club will advance to the postseason for the 10th time in 14 seasons after it clinched the Southern League’s Northern Division first-half title on Monday with a 7-3 win over Jacksonville. The Barons are 40-24 and have a 7 1/2-game lead.

-- Paul Konerko moved passed Nellie Fox into second place in franchise history when he played in his 2,116th game on Monday night.