GLENDALE, Ariz. — The first day of camp proved to be a pain in the butt for the White Sox.
A favorite to become the White Sox next closer, Nate Jones is out indefinitely after he reported to spring training with a strained glute muscle, general manager Rick Hahn said Saturday.
Hahn said the team would evaluate Jones — who informed trainers on Friday he suffered the strain 7-10 days earlier — early next week.
Jones, Matt Lindstrom and Daniel Webb have emerged as the top candidates to take over as the White Sox closer after Addison Reed was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in December. Jones went 4-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 89 strikeouts over 78 innings last season.
“We’re just trying to get the thing settled down and stay out in front of it before it becomes a real thing,” Hahn said. “We’re here for an extended period of time, so there’s no need to rush through anything. … We should know more sometime next week how long this is going to be, but at this point we’re not projecting out anything into the season.”
The White Sox had no plans to rush the announcement on their next closer anyway. They intended to use the entire spring to evaluate and didn’t want to hip their hand by announcing Reed’s replacement. While Jones, who had an MRI and an X-ray on Friday, could miss a fair amount of time, the White Sox won’t stress on it just yet. Relievers need less time to prepare for the regular season as they only need to be stretched out for two innings of work.
Last spring, Jesse Crain missed all but a few days with injuries but still made the Opening Day roster.
“It’s nothing with his arms, it’s a minor thing,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s just being cautious about him going out there and hurting it more so just let him rest it and let it heal up. Him being a reliever, you’re not really looking to extend him innings-wise. I just want him to be 100 percent before he starts going out there and throwing.”