3/8/2014 7:27 P.M. ET
Jones pleased with first Cactus League outing
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the moderate left glute strain completely behind him, White Sox reliever Nate Jones pitched a scoreless fourth during his 2014 Cactus League debut Saturday afternoon against the D-backs. Jones threw eight of his 16 pitches for strikes, while striking out one and escaping a two-on, nobody-out jam by inducing a Henry Blanco double play.
"I didn't necessarily want to get in that jam, but it happens and I got to work out a little bit, get the blood flowing," said Jones, who gave up a Shelley Duncan double and a four-pitch walk to Andy Marte to open the inning. "Everything felt good. Everything was normal, ready to get it going.
"The best part was seeing that other uniform in the box instead of the White Sox uniform. Got the adrenaline going for sure."
Jones was happy with his changeup and slider but was hoping for better fastball control. He'll have a chance to improve Tuesday against the Rangers, as Jones returns to a normal pitching schedule.
"He's throwing what you would think as far as velocity-wise but not sharp as he could be missing that much time," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "But he's not a starter so you are not worried about him going in the extended innings and getting him in there for that. Occasionally, he might have to get two just to stretch him out a little bit because in the past, he's gone two innings in a game."
Lindstrom itching to get back to work
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Lindstrom's current state of mind could be described as frustrated but not discouraged where his left oblique strain is concerned.
The right-handed White Sox reliever was getting ready to throw a bullpen this past Tuesday, moving one step closer to getting into a game, when he suffered a setback playing long toss. Now Lindstrom is looking at sometime next week before he starts throwing again.
It's still being viewed as a precautionary measure to make sure this missed Cactus League time doesn't turn into missed regular-season contests.
"We are taking this a little bit slower than the first time," said Lindstrom prior to Saturday's contest with the D-backs. "Just trying to make sure it doesn't grab on me again because time, it isn't running out, but we can't afford another setback.
"I feel good right now. I'm getting sick of the training room, so just looking forward to getting back out there. I see the guys putting in their work and stuff and it kind of makes me a little bit more motivated to try to get better from this."
A MRI was not taken on Lindstrom's sore area, but ultrasound was used to check the injury and the result was good news.
"I've heard of guys having oblique issues and tearing it off the bone and stuff like that," Lindstrom said. "Fortunately for me, it wasn't that extensive, so I'm just trying to get it right."
Veteran reliever Jesse Crain missed much of last Spring Training with an adductor strain and went on to have an All-Star first half to the season after still breaking camp with the White Sox. Lindstrom has that same veteran knowledge on how to prepare but is hoping to get into more than a few games over the final two weeks of Spring Training, adding that this injury has allowed his shoulder to "get back on track" after he threw eight bullpens in the 16 days leading up to camp.
"If it were my first or second Spring Training, I would be a little bit nervous," Lindstrom said. "I don't need 12 games in Spring Training to get ready for the season. A true test would be going up to Idaho and pitching in the cold up there. That would be a true test. If I could do that, then I would be ready to play.
"We have a pretty good idea of what we need to do. I'm confident in what I can do. It's not like I don't know how to throw strikes. As long as I'm feeling good out there, that's the biggest thing."
Belisario belatedly makes it to White Sox camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was able to shake hands with reliever Ronald Belisario on Saturday morning for the first time since Spring Training began.
The free-agent reliever, who agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the White Sox, missed the first three weeks of camp due to a visa issue trying to leave Venezuela. The political and civil unrest in his native country played a role in Belisario's late arrival.
"By the time that I got my appointment, there was a problem there," Belisario said. "The embassy was closed for like a week, so I have to wait. But I'm happy to be here.
"It's pretty bad right now, you know, the situation with the president [of Venezuela]. I hope [it gets] better pretty soon."
Belisario appeared in 77 games for the Dodgers last season and posted a 2.54 ERA over 68 games in 2012. He has the fourth-highest ground-ball rate among relievers since 2009 at 74.8 percent, making him an important part of the bullpen at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
Pitching coach Don Cooper put Belisario to work with a bullpen Saturday, and he will throw another sideline session Monday. After a couple of days off, Belisario will be put into a game.
"He definitely was throwing in Venezuela because he came out here and had a nice sideline. Ball out of his hand has life, movement, sink," said Cooper. "I'm excited, I'm saying we have another one of our guys here and a guy we're counting on, a veteran, and it's just good all around that he's here."
"I'm pretty good," Belisario said. "I'm ready to go."
Pitching coach not worried about Danks' velocity
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper doesn't want to talk about velocity return where John Danks' 2014 success is concerned.
In his recovery year from 2012 season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery, Danks' fastball velocity dropped from 90.1 mph to 89.3 in 2013 per Fangraphs.com. But after a stellar three-inning performance Thursday against the Mariners, Cooper was stressing location more than average speed.
"John made too many mistakes last year. John's walks were down and his home runs were up," Cooper said. "We have to keep the walks down, keep the ball in the park and cut down on mistakes.
"Again I keep hearing velocity, velocity, velocity. I'm not looking velocity. The bottom line is he's going to have what he has. I'm not going to get my hopes up for one mile an hour more: that's kind of what he was down last year. Even if he gets two, he still has to pitch and locate. That's not swing and miss [stuff]. John's going to have to pitch.
"He's certainly off to a nice start," Cooper said. "He's throwing the ball well, making more pitches, throwing the cutter to both sides of the plate. The changeup is always a good pitch for him and he continues on."
Third to first
• The White Sox will have a "B" game this Tuesday.
• In the third inning of Saturday's 6-4 loss to the D-backs, the White Sox fell victim to the strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play. It was Conor Gillaspie who struck out swinging against Brandon McCarthy, but the throwout part was Carlos Sanchez at the plate on the back end of a double steal. Alejandro De Aza made it safely into second on the play.