KANSAS CITY -- It remains to be seen how much Nate Jones can help the White Sox bullpen in high-leverage situations down the stretch this season. But for one evening on Friday, as Jones made his first Major League appearance since April 3, 2014, optimism was in the air.
Jones, who has traveled a long road back since Tommy John surgery, worked a perfect eighth inning against the heart of the Royals lineup with the White Sox trailing by two runs. Jones got Eric Hosmer on a groundout before striking out Kendrys Morales and Mike Moustakas. He threw 16 pitches (11 strikes) and one pitch touched 100 mph, according to the Kauffman Stadium radar gun.
"He was amped up and excited to be in there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's a lot of work to go through what he did. For him to go out there and do that against that part of their lineup is very impressive."
Jones was focused on using the pent-up energy in a positive way as he made his Major League return.
"I was just concentrating on the [catcher's] mitt and giving everything I had toward it," Jones said. "It was like the whole rehab process was coming toward an end. It all came out right there."
Rookie outfielder Trayce Thompson, who responded to an emergency call to replace an injured Adam Eaton in the fourth inning Friday by going 2-for-2, expressed relief that he got his first Major League hit out of the way. Thompson beat out an infield hit to the left side in the sixth and then doubled to left in the eighth.
"Any hit is a hit," Thompson said. "I'll take it. It was definitely a relief, and I'll save that [first hit] ball for the rest of my life."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.