Nate Jones entered camp as the favorite to take over as the White Sox closer. A mid-February glute strain threatened to complicate matters, but the right-hander now appears to be back on track.
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that Jones threw his third bullpen session of the spring on Wednesday and experienced no lingering discomfort in his backside. “It’s completely gone,” Jones said of the glute strain. “They just want to take it as slow as possible because we still have playing time in the spring. That’s why we have increased it just a little at a time. … We’re still doing fine and once we start playing the games I think I’ll be right where I need to be.”
Jones, 28, owns a cool 3.31 career ERA and 154 strikeouts in 149 2/3 major league innings.
The White Sox traded former closer Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks in December.
Indians third baseman José Ramírez had to be carted off the field in the top of the third inning of Sunday afternoon’s Cactus League game agaisnt the White Sox. Ramírez fouled a pitch off of his leg during an at-bat against pitcher Sean Nolin.
MLB.com’s Mandy Bell reports that Ramírez was diagnosed with a left knee contusion after he was taken for X-rays. The X-rays were negative, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Ramírez, 26, finished third in AL MVP Award voting last season, batting .270/.387/.552 with 39 home runs, 105 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases across 698 plate appearances. He was worth 7.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. If Ramírez lands on the injured list, that would obviously be a huge loss for the Indians, despite being the overwhelming favorites in the AL Central entering the season.
The Indians will already start the season without second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor, though both are expected to return before the end of April. The infield is in rough shape at the moment.