GLENDALE, Ariz. — Nate Jones is having a rough spring, and it’s not getting better as it goes along. In fact, the 33-year-old reliever’s outings have gone from bad to worse.
“The last two outings are unacceptable,” Jones said Monday morning, the day after the Diamondbacks got him for two runs on two walks and two hits including a home run in one third of an inning. “And it’s getting later in the spring.”
Jones (15.43 ERA) faced five batters in the eighth inning of the Sox’ Cactus League game at Salt River Field in Scottsdale, issuing a walk, a homer to prospect Marcus Wilson, another walk and a single before recording a strikeout and then getting pulled. Two days earlier, Jones faced four Cubs and did not record an out, allowing three runs including two on a home run by Wynton Bernard. Jones has allowed 11 hits including four homers over 4 2/3 innings. And he has walked four.
“It’s definitely location,” Jones said. “Missing up with my pitches and not getting ahead, and when you do that hitters make you pay for it. It’s a fairly easy fix. Just get the ball down, get ahead of hitters and attack.”
Renteria on Saturday he wasn’t concerned about Jones because he feels healthy. Jones has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, but the Sox picked up their $4.65 million option on Jones during the offseason, looking for him to bolster the back end of their bullpen with Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera.
Jones’ velocity was 94-95 mph on Sunday, and seven of his 14 recorded outs are via the strikeout, so there’s that.
“I feel great,” Jone said. “I’m recovering well. I got out here Jan. 2, and everything has been going well, everything has been — knock on wood — feeling good.”
Jones said his confidence hasn’t wavered. Pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Curt Hasler have given him some things to fix, he said.
“I have to work on some things and go from there,” Jones said. “It’s obviously not good to happen this late in the spring. But we still have a week and a half before the season starts.”
Jones owns a 3.11 career ERA with 308 strikeouts in 281 innings. In 33 appearances covering 30 innings in 2018, he pitched to a 3.11 ERA with 32 strikeouts.
Here is the Sox lineup for their game against the Giants in Glendale Monday:
Leury Garcia RF
Yoan Moncada 3B
Yonder Alonso 1B
Jose Abreu DH
Yolmer Sanchez 2B
Brandon Guyer LF
Tim Anderson SS
Adam Engel CF
Alfredo Gonzalez C
Manny Banuelos P