Jones ready to put exclamation on comeback

Reliever returns to bullpen following Tommy John surgery

Jones ready to put exclamation on comeback

CHICAGO -- It was July 29, 2014, when an injury-plagued season came to an end for Nate Jones via Tommy John surgery. A little more than one year later, the 29-year-old right-hander has returned to the White Sox.

Jones was brought back from his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Charlotte and reinstated from the 60-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's series finale with the Rays. Daniel Webb was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain.

Over nine games with Class A Winston-Salem and Charlotte, Jones compiled a 1.93 ERA. He also was reported to be hitting 100 mph on the radar gun, which an exceedingly upbeat Jones said was not necessarily a function of the adrenaline kicking in as he primed for a comeback.

"What was going on is what I have," Jones said. "It's what I pitch with, and I was fortunate enough to have those seven or eight [simulated] games before I started the rehab process, and that allowed me to test it there instead of going out into the game and being timid about it.

"It was definitely a good test, going down to Winston and Charlotte. It was nice to see the hitters' reaction, what they're doing, and adjusting my game to that, and seeing how I react after I was done throwing, because it's a different intensity level with the lights on and everything. Everything went well."

That forgettable 2014 season for Jones involved two games, two hits and four earned runs, three walks, no batters retired and a pair of surgeries. A May 5 microdiscectomy preceded Tommy John surgery and was an offshoot of back and hip problems that bothered him at the outset of Spring Training.

But a goal was set to return by the 2015 All-Star break, and Jones just missed his target. He certainly isn't going to fret over a few weeks.

"I'm pretty excited about it," Jones said. "It's going to be hard to contain it out there whenever I do get to pitch, but I think after that first pitch, we can finally put a closing on the whole rehab process, so I'm looking forward to that. We've done pretty good working hard and everything's paid off so far."

"Nate probably had another game to do something else before --- we probably had four more days without him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But with Webby going down, he seemed like the logical choice to get him back here and get him back in action. He has worked hard. We've seen him off and on here. He comes in, works and we get some updates. For a guy that you have that surgery and work your way back, it's a long road, and he deserves to be here."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.