ARLINGTON, Texas -- Although Nate Jones has identified the problem that has led to his recent struggles, he hasn’t been able to fully address the issue.
The White Sox right-hander has allowed five earned runs in his last two appearances and his ERA has risen from 2.79 to 6.17. Prior to the last two, however, Jones had pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings over five appearances.
He said he needs to ensure he doesn’t get too excited on the mound and rush his delivery.
“I get too anxious out there and very excited and learning to control that geek and staying back with my mechanics,” Jones said. “I kind of feel it during (my delivery) and try to make adjustments out there. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Last night I wasn’t executing my pitches and if you don’t execute your pitches, you get hurt up here, and that’s what happened.”
[More: White Sox send down Veal, restructure bullpen]
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper expressed confidence in Jones’ ability to rebound. Cooper likes Jones’ stuff and agrees the reliever needs to better manage his energy on the mound.
“It’s a matter of him getting ahead and not trying to do too much,” Cooper said. “Every time he throws a pitch, it’s a two-strike put away pitch. He doesn’t have to make the breaking ball any nastier then it is, the fastball any harder. He just has to locate it better. That’s what he hasn’t been doing on a consistent basis as of yet. I have confidence it will happen.”
Hard to evaluate
White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn’t want to make excuses for his team’s 10-15 start but agrees it’s hard to evaluate what he has with six players on the disabled list. Other than last season’s 12-12 start in April, the White Sox have had losing records in the first full month each of the last four seasons. But this year’s version has been without regulars Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo as well as starter John Danks for a majority of the season.
“It’s hard to really put a finger on understanding what the team is actually like because we haven’t had it all together for a while. It’s hard to put a finger on that. Any time you start losing two three guys in the lineup it changes.”
Odds and ends
-- Second baseman Jeff Keppinger returned to the lineup Wednesday after he missed four straight games because of back spasms.
-- Ventura said outfielder Jordan Danks (right knee contusion) is available in an emergency but is still sore.