ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nate Jones has already been out two weeks and doesn’t seem to be much better, if at all.
The White Sox reliever, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 4 with a sore lower back, was seen gingerly walking about the clubhouse in Chicago this week. On top of that, he didn’t make a second straight road trip with the White Sox, who are at the Texas Rangers for three before a four-game series in Detroit.
“He doesn’t look good walking around,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “The more treatment he gets, it’s sore. It’s a little more extensive than we first anticipated by just seeing him and what he mentioned when it first happened. Hopefully it starts getting better, but I don’t think we anticipated it being this long.”
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The White Sox switched the diagnosis on Jones to a sore lower back after originally placing him on the DL with a strained left hip muscle. The injury is related to the gluteal strain that kept Jones out of action for the first three weeks this spring.
But even though an MRI has helped the White Sox find the specific cause of Jones’ troubles, it hasn’t helped the pitcher progress.
Ventura hasn’t had a timetable on when Jones might be ready for baseball activity and said Friday it could a little while longer, “especially you see the way he’s walking around.”
That’s not good news for a bullpen that has continued to struggle as a whole despite the development of several young pitchers. Through 16 games, White Sox relievers have a 6.48 ERA with 51 hits allowed and 40 walks in 50 innings. Jones’ absence has clearly hurt the club as he led all American League relievers with 39 late and close innings last season, per MLB.com. His development as reliever was one of the reasons the White Sox were willing to trade Addison Reed and Hector Santiago this offseason.
“It is big,” Ventura said. “He has been a big part of the bullpen for a couple years now. You lose a guy being able to throw the way he does and the experience that he now has, that’s a big guy, especially with people talking about him having closer stuff.”