White Sox: Nate Jones Suffers Yet Another Season-Ending Injury
By Matt Cizek
White Sox longest-tenured player suffers yet another season-ending injury and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the relief pitcher.
In a season where pitching has been a question mark, the White Sox’ staff takes another hit.
Just days after starter Carlos Rodon was ruled out due to upcoming Tommy John surgery, reliever and longest-tenured player Nate Jones has been ruled out for the rest of the season as well.
“Jones had surgery Monday to repair a flexor mass tear in his right forearm” notes the Associated Press. “The 33-year-old right-hander also has been hampered by injuries since he had a 2.29 ERA in 71 appearances in 2016.”
Debuting in 2012, Jones accomplished the rare feat of going undefeated in his rookie season with an 8-0 record in 65 games. He pitched a career-high 71 games in 2016 after pitching 70 games in 2012, with the 2013 and 2014 season being limited due to injuries.
He had a career-high five saves last season before being replaced by Joakim Soria, prior to Soria’s trade to Milwaukee.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn noted that this is, unfortunately not the first setback Jones has had:
” ‘I believe this is his third, possibly his fourth procedure in the last four or five years…[T]o now undergo another setback is, I’m sure, very discouraging… there’s been a decent number of very fine relievers in the last several years who have had this and been able to be productive into their mid, late 30s. Certainly there’s no reason to think Nate can’t be one, as well.’ ”
In the same article, author Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago questioned whether Jones’ days in a White Sox uniform may be numbered:
“Jones is a likable guy, and certainly the White Sox don’t want to rudely end his tenure at this early stage in the season. But thinking about their long-term plans, it would figure that a team looking to get younger as it approaches its transition from rebuilding to contending would perhaps move on from a 33-year-old with persistent health issues.”
Despite their pitching struggles and concerns going forward this year – no Jones, Rodon, Michael Kopech, or Dane Dunning – the White Sox (19-22) have up until now shown an eight-game improvement from where they were last year when they were 11-30 after 41 games.