CLEVELAND — Nate Jones has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Saturday with surgery planned for Monday.
The White Sox reliever hasn’t appeared in a game since April 4 as he dealt with a lower back issue that had bothered him since he reported to spring training.
On Monday he will undergo a mini discectomy at Rush University Medical Center.
Per spineuniverse.com, a micro discectomy is one of the most common “minimally invasive spine surgery procedures” and is intended to “take pressure off your nerves to relieve back pain.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Jones, who was seen hobbling in the clubhouse on Wednesday, could be ready to resume baseball activity in a month.
“They were working on it to try and pinpoint what it was and his pain ... it never seemed to go away,” Ventura said. “You dig a little deeper in there, and it was concluded he needed to have surgery to be able to fix it. Fortunately it’s not a season-ending thing. They mentioned right around a month for him to come back.
They shaved part of his disc to be able to relieve some of the pressure. I know they did go in there and take care of it that way.”
Jones missed the first three weeks of spring training after he reported to camp Feb. 15 with what was described to be a gluteal strain. The right-hander, who didn’t do any baseball activity for the first 10 days of camp, showed few, if any signs, he was hurt when he returned to the mound.
He had a 2.35 spring ERA and eight strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, though he did issue three walks in one game late in spring. Once the season began, however, it was clear Jones was playing in pain. He faced five hitters in the team’s first two games, walking three and allowing two hits.
“I don’t think Nate or anyone else thought it would turn out to be what it was,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “You know, he’s a missing guy. He was a guy we are counting on, and he’s just not physically able to go through no fault of his own.”
Jones has been an integral part of the White Sox bullpen the past seasons. Last season he led American League relievers with 39 late and close innings.
The White Sox bullpen has recently improved after it struggled early in Jones’ absence. But Ventura hopes Jones can return to be a force again.
“They’re talking about him being ready maybe in a month to be able to start throwing again and doing things,” Ventura said. “It wouldn’t be the rest of the year.
"He went through periods where he’d start feeling better and we’d wait it out and see what it is. Once it starts going the other way when he throws, all of a sudden you’re checking it again so until they go in there and see it, they don’t know exactly what it is. They feel confident though that they got it.”