White Sox reliever Nate Jones’ velocity bears watching

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Nate Jones throws in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on March 30, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — White Sox reliever Nate Jones’ best fastball is sitting around 94 or 95 mph, a few ticks below the upper-90s stuff he has flashed throughout his career.

The usual gas wasn’t evident during spring training (12.15 ERA), it hasn’t been there in his first two appearances and he hasn’t been effective, either. He feels good, but still.

‘‘If he stays in that particular range, then we can think about what’s going on,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘But other than that, he feels great. He’s not complaining about anything physically.’’

A strained pronator muscle limited Jones to 33 appearances in 2018. He posted a 3.11 ERA, averaged 97 to 98 mph on his fastball (according to Brooks Baseball) and had his $4.65 million option picked up by the Sox.

Jones didn’t pitch on consecutive days this spring. He appeared in the first two games of the season with a day off in between and faced only four batters, striking out one and allowing a run on a hit, a walk and a wild pitch.

‘‘Hopefully the velocity he’s had in the past will come back to be where it’s been,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He has to continue to execute, for sure.’’

Jay to be re-evaluated

Outfielder Jon Jay, whom the Sox signed to a one-year, $4 million deal in the offseason, started the season on the 10-day injured list and doesn’t appear close to a return. Renteria said Jay will be re-evaluated by doctors when the Sox return to Chicago. Jay is on the IL with a strained hip but said he has a back issue, too.


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With Jay out, Leury Garcia is getting an opportunity to be an every-day player. He started his third consecutive game in center field Sunday. Renteria has a choice of starting Garcia in center and below-average defender Daniel Palka in right or above-average defender Adam Engel in center and Garcia in right. So it’s a choice between Palka’s bat and Engel’s defense.

McCann gets another start

Catcher James McCann, who caught left-hander Carlos Rodon on Opening Day, caught right-hander Lucas Giolito’s gem of a start Sunday. Welington Castillo, who has been dealing with a lower-back issue, wasn’t ready to catch on consecutive days.

‘‘I’m still trying to get [Castillo] back on track,’’ Renteria said.

A fairly even split of time seems possible, with McCann likely getting most of Rodon’s starts.

‘‘I can’t give you a percentage on how many games on, how many games off,’’ Renteria said.

This and that

First baseman Yonder Alonso reached base four times, including his first home run. Alonso has homered for six teams in his 10-year career.

• Designated hitter Jose Abreu’s second homer in as many days came on the fifth anniversary of his major-league debut. The homer was also his 400th career run scored.

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