The best injury news Thursday for the White Sox is in regard to Nate Jones, who seems to be improving.
The reliever, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, has responded well after he had an MRI and epidural when the team discovered the injury is to his lower back. The White Sox believe the current injury is why Jones missed the first several weeks of spring training with a gluteal strain and why he hasn’t quite healed properly. But if Jones stays healthy for the next few days he could get back to baseball action soon, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“It seems the source of his issue is in his lower back, which is a little different,” Hahn said. “He feels much better, which is good. We’re going to hopefully have a few more days of him continuing to feel better before we start including baseball activity in his rehab. He’s quiet right now, but for right now the arrow seems to be pointing up.”
Beckham still down
Gordon Beckham is nearing a return to the lineup at Double-A Birmingham but isn’t quite there yet, Hahn said. Beckham, out since March 14 with a left oblique strain, hasn’t been in the lineup since last Thursday after he suffered a setback. The White Sox don’t have a timetable for Beckham’s return as they need to see consistent health and at-bats before they bring him back.
“We’ve taken a few days to calm it down,” Hahn said. “He’s not in the lineup tonight. There’s a chance he returns in the next few days. He was re-evaluated by our doctor in Birmingham. We think things are calming down. He’s going to start swinging again today and hopefully work his way back into the lineup in the coming days. Currently don’t have a timeframe on him. Specifically, we’ve got to get him back and seeing live pitching on a regular basis.”
-- Adrian Nieto’s second hit became apparent to him a lot faster than the first. Nieto singled in the third inning on Thursday night, one day after he was retroactively awarded his first knock. Major League Baseball overturned an E5 called when Nieto’s grounder got past Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas on Saturday and awarded Nieto a double. The Rule 5 catcher kept the ball in case the play was overturned.
“It’s cool but it would have been cooler if I had known on the spot,” Nieto said. “But it’s still a hit. … I did (think it was a hit) because he was playing off the line and went backhand. It was funny because when I got to second [Eric] Hosmer said ‘Error?’ and I said ‘Stop messing with me.’ And then they turned it into an error. But it got changed so it’s cool.”
-- Jeff Keppinger, who is rehabbing his surgically-repaired shoulder, played three innings in extended spring training on Wednesday and is progressing, Hahn said. Keppinger should be in the lineup on Friday, Hahn said.
“He’s working his way toward a rehab assignment but not quite there yet,” Hahn said.