White Sox notes: Nate Jones' surgery goes smoothly

White Sox notes: Nate Jones' surgery goes smoothly
May 5, 2014, 6:30 pm
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Nate Jones underwent successful back surgery on Monday and will need about a month before the White Sox can evaluate when he'll be able to return to the team, general manager Rick Hahn said.

Jones, who specifically underwent a microdisectomy and a nerve reduction, was placed on the 60-day disabled list on Saturday and hasn't pitched since April 3. An optimistic outlook could have Jones back with the White Sox in June if his recovery progresses well enough.

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"After a month, it’s conceivable we’ll ramp up baseball activities and he can return soon thereafter as tolerated by the baseball activities," Hahn said. "At that point it’s more about getting him into pitching shape than dealing with the back. We’ll see in a month and come up with a time frame them."

Johnson gets the message

Erik Johnson only issued one walk in his first start with Triple-A Charlotte after being optioned to the minor leagues April 26. The right-hander struggled with control over five starts before his demotion, walking 16 in 23 2/3 innings with a 6.46 ERA.

The 24-year-old will need show improvement over more than just one start to work his way back into the major league mix, but Hahn is confident Johnson will eventually get back to that point.

"Here’s the thing as I told Erik directly when he was sitting on the couch in Robin’s office, I said look Joe Crede and Aaron Rowand sat exactly where you are sitting right now and received similar messages like the one we are giving you and that is: We think you have a very bright future and be a part of successful White Sox teams for years to come," Hahn said. "But where we are at right now, you are not in a position to effectively pitch at the big leagues. You have to go down and work on x, y and z and get that done right and you will be back.

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"… Erik Johnson still has a bright future but it was important for him to go down to Charlotte and get his things right in a different environment."

One last hurrah?

With a slimmer-than-slim chance of a Crosstown World Series, Monday and Tuesday's games represent Paul Konerko's final chance to play at Wrigley Field. But with right-handers in Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson scheduled to throw both games on the North Side, the plan doesn't call for Konerko to play either game.

Still, manager Robin Ventura wouldn't rule out an appearance from Konerko and said he may try to find a spot that fits to get him in.

"You would love to, anytime he’s in a place for the last time," Ventura said. "I don’t see us making another run here at any point this season, so you would like to get him in there. He hits pretty good here, so it would also be nice if he would hit a homer."

In 34 career games at Wrigley Field, Konerko has an .878 OPS with seven home runs and 26 RBIs.