KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Center fielder Adam Eaton was back in the White Sox lineup Saturday, a day after he exited the Sox’ 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals with a jammed left shoulder.
Eaton has been dealing with a sore shoulder since he dived for a ball in Cleveland two weeks ago. He aggravated it when he fell after going back to catch a fly ball by Ben Zobrist during the fourth inning.
“Something we’re going to continue to deal with and I’m glad Skip put me back in the lineup because I want to be back in there,” said Eaton, who leads the American League in runs scored and is second in on-base percentage since the All-Star break. ” Get some meds in me. I told him ‘give me my helmet and my gun and get me back in the trench.’ ”
Asked if it affected his throwing Eaton said, “Dealing with it for a couple weeks now so I guess for the last two weeks is what I’ve had out there and what I’m going to have. So it’s something we’ll continue to deal with.”
The Sox were 51-56 going into Saturday’s game against the Royals (64-44).
“We’re getting to the days where we need to make a push and I want to be part of that with these guys. They’ve put in hard hours all year and it’s getting down to the nitty gritty right now and I don’t want to take a day off. Everyone is hurting right now.”
It’s often customary for a player who comes out of a game with an injury to also miss the next game. Ventura has exercised that policy in the past.
“It’s not a structural thing,” Ventura said. “It’s more of a nerve thing that isn’t going to get better in one days or two days so it’s going to be there for a while. He feels good enough to go out there and do something so we’re kind of going by that and let them.
“We’re better when he’s in there, it’s that simple, and he knows it.”
Jones’ 100 mph return
Nate Jones touched 100 mph and averaged 99.49 mph with his fastball (according to BrooksBaseball) in his first outing Friday night since Tommy John surgery, and the right-hander retired all three batters he faced with two strikeouts. Jones was amped up, understandably, standing on a major league mound in a full ballpark for the first time since April of last year.
“It was like the whole rehab process was coming to an end,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of frustration, a lot of anxiety, a lot of excitement, a lot of adrenaline, and it all came out right there. It was good, I was fortunate enough I was able to do my job and keep it under control, and I was very excited about it.”
Jones was a candidate to be the Sox’ closer last year but he encountered health issues, starting with a hip problem, from the get-go. If healthy again, he figures to make it back to an eighth-inning role, if not this season by next year, but the process will be gradual.
“When you see what he does it becomes more important, his role moving forward of what it’s going to be in the bullpen,” Ventura said.
Equally impressive was that Jones threw six of seven sliders for strikes.
“He was a little amped up [Friday]. He was excited to be in there, you see him taking his deep breaths. It’s a lot of work to go through what he did. Any guy that goes through that process understands that.
“He’s been here a few days and for him to go out there and do that against that part of their lineup is very impressive and we’re happy to have him back. ”
This and that
Ventura on Trayce Thompson, who replaced Eaton Friday and had two hits, including a double: “I thought he reacted great and there wasn’t anything going on that would have a kid like that ready to go in, but he was ready to play, got in took advantage of it, made the most of the opportunity. It’s good. He’ll be in there one way or another [Sunday] with Duffy going. But it’s nice to see that reaction from him.
*Chris Sale, who has had two consecutive supbar outings, had a side session in the bullpen with pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen. Sale appeared to be giving attention to his release point. Sale is scheduled to start Monday when the Sox open a home stand against the Angels.
*The Sox had won 11 of their last 14 road games going into Saturday.