But shortly after the White Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins, reports surfaced that the gluteal strain that dragged Jones down in early on in Spring Training is bothering him once again, contributing to his poor performance on the field. Even with the injury, I still don’t think the White Sox need to worry about Jones.
Jones said after the game that while he was on the mound, the injury shifted his focus away from pitching and towards the discomfort he felt. Manager Robin Ventura agreed that perhaps the injury could be one of the culprits contributing to the slow start.
Yes, it is hard to pitch while thinking about a body part in pain, and yes, Jones had a strong spring after the injury became a non-issue. At the same time, Jones’ tendencies in his short career show him heating up as the season progresses in a way that parallels the Chicago climate.
It’s unfortunate for the White Sox to have another player go down with a potential injury, especially since the team escaped from Spring Training with just two players starting the season on the DL: Gordon Beckham (oblique) and Jeff Keppinger (shoulder). At the same time, injuries tend to be easier for teams to deal with at the beginning of the season. It is far better to have a player unavailable when his team has 159 games left as opposed to 10, 20 or 30.
A team’s fate is unclear in April; in September, one awkward slide or pitch could spell the end for even the strongest contenders.