MINNEAPOLIS -- Ryan from Athletico might be bored this week.
Nate Jones won’t be around to continue rehabbing from back surgery with the intern from the Chicago-based physical therapy company the White Sox have players use when the team is on the road.
For the first time all season, Jones has joined the White Sox on the road. Jones is 6 1/ 2 weeks removed from a micro discectomy to take pressure off his nerves and relieve back pain. While he still has a long time left in his recovery (Jones said there’s no set timetable), the White Sox reliever has progressed enough to where the team wants to monitor him closely starting with this 11-game road trip. Jones appeared in two games this season but went on the disabled list just before the team’s first road trip.
“This is awesome,” Jones said. “It’s got me in a very positive attitude. I get to travel with the team and be a part of it. It feels like I’m part of the team.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura knows the reality of the situation is Jones still has a long road ahead. But he also knows that being on the road is a good sign about the progress Jones has made.
“That’s a good sign when guys starting going on the road, just being around the team and start your way back,” Ventura said. “That’s when it’s really official is when they start traveling and (trainers Herm Schneider and Brian Ball) have their work cut out for them. But it’s always nice and it’s a nice sign for them to get on the road.”
Jones’ schedule has him working two days in a row and then taking the third off. He’s past the point of rehabbing and becoming a regular person again and is increasing sprints and playing long toss. He also is throwing 10-15 pitches -- all fastballs -- off flat ground. Jones describes the work as enduring spring training all over again. He’s feeling the normal soreness that comes with using muscles for the first time in two months.
He’s encouraged as is the training staff, hence the trip.
“I feel like we’re getting closer, that’s for sure,” Jones said. “But no date has been set. Still increasing my workload and the amount of new things I’m doing. So it’s really day-to-day. Increasing my exercises and see how I react the next day. If all goes good, we’re going to increase the workload.
“Herm’s like, ‘Hey, you forced me to take you. You can play catch. I got nobody back here to play catch.’ ”