GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In his recovery from Tommy John surgery, White Sox reliever Nate Jones is progressing during long toss and believes the next step will be bullpen sessions on flat ground.
Jones will finish his long toss that tops out at 135 feet on Monday and then will move on to a sequence involving throws from 120, 135 and 150 feet, while dropping the throws from 105.
After Jones gets through his required time at 150, bullpen sessions will be next. Those bullpens will start on flat ground in front of the mound and eventually work their way back to the mound, according to the reliever who had Tommy John surgery on July 29 after battling hip and back issues that led to a microdiscectomy on May 5.
"So far it has been good," said Jones of the rehab process. "I've been sore after my throwing days, which is not unusual. We are training that tendon to do something new, to be a ligament. We are at a good pace right now, pushing it. Take it easy the next day and then push again. It's learning its job."
Neither general manager Rick Hahn nor head athletic trainer Herm Schneider have set a firm timetable for Jones' exact return, but he still is looking at somewhere around the All-Star break. Jones simply wants to have a goal for an end of this extensive process.
"They just want me back healthy and to be able to contribute positively for the team," Jones said. "Even though I won't break with the team and stuff like that, I feel in a better place than I was last year. We just couldn't figure it out."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.