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Shields excited to see youth develop for Sox

Injury updates on Jones, Garcia; Rondon declines assignment
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- There's a very good chance James Shields will start one of the first three White Sox games in Seattle post All-Star break next weekend. The veteran right-hander most likely will take the mound to open the series Friday.

Whether Shields remains with the White Sox at the start of August after the non-waiver Trade Deadline isn't quite as definite.

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CHICAGO -- There's a very good chance James Shields will start one of the first three White Sox games in Seattle post All-Star break next weekend. The veteran right-hander most likely will take the mound to open the series Friday.

Whether Shields remains with the White Sox at the start of August after the non-waiver Trade Deadline isn't quite as definite.

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"I don't know. We'll see where baseball takes me," Shields told MLB.com Sunday. "I do know at the end of the day, I want to win.

"I'm a competitor, and I want to win, and if the cards aren't dealt to me that way, then that's fine. I'm ready to rock and be a Chicago White Sox."

Shields, 36, has found a mound renaissance during his 13th big league season and third with the White Sox. He has worked at least six innings in 14 of his last 16 starts -- a durable quality potentially attractive to contending teams -- and he has a 4.03 ERA during that stretch.

Dropping his arm angle has helped Shields, but he gives more credence to simply feeling better physically. Health was an issue the veteran doesn't like talking about as part of his earlier White Sox struggles after being acquired from San Diego.

"Just full body really -- it wasn't ready to rock," said Shields, who did a great deal of swimming and changed some dietary things this past offseason. "Again, I'm not one to make excuses, by no means. And frankly, I don't really like talking about it.

"At the end of the day, I just feel a lot better, and recovering really well this year and just having some fun with it. This offseason, I really focused on getting my body back in shape, and I feel amazing right now."

If Shields is not traded, the White Sox hold a $16 million club option for 2019, but they are almost certain to exercise their $2 million buyout. Shields wants to continue pitching past this season and for as long as his body feels good, but even if it's not in Chicago, Shields made valuable contributions to helping the young players develop.

"Look, at the end of the day, I love this organization. I love the direction that this organization is going in," Shields said. "And I think this team is going to be, even though we have a really bad record right now, I think this team is going to be really, really good for the next five years.

"I'm pretty excited to watch this organization grow over the next five years because of how much talent they have. As soon as they put it together, it's going to be something special."

Jones moving to Charlotte

After a successful 20-pitch live batting practice session Saturday, Nate Jones will take his injury rehab work to Triple-A Charlotte over the All-Star break. But he won't be part of game action quite yet.

"We are getting as close as we can to simulating an inning," Jones said. "We are going to go warm up, come in and throw eight pitches and then start my 15 to 20."

Jones would stay in Charlotte to begin a rehab assignment to test his right pronator strain if all responds well Tuesday. Jones liked the feel of his first 15 pitches on Saturday.

"I was a little bit disappointed on the end, because the last four or five [didn't have] the control I would like," Jones said. "But that will come along, and I was pleased the way it felt."

Renteria hands out grades

White Sox manager Rick Renteria had a couple of different grades for his team when asked to evaluate its first half.

"Right now, we're at a D. There are things we continue to need to improve upon. That goes without saying," Renteria said. "I'd say effort level is probably a B+ or an A. That would be fair to say.

"I also believe it would be fair to say we will continue to try to improve on all the aspects of the game we need to improve on, fundamentally speaking: Running the bases, working on situational hitting, all those things. They all need to continue to improve."

Renteria said he wouldn't give himself a good grade, but didn't want to talk about himself specifically.

"That's for you and everybody else," Renteria said.

Third to first

Avisail Garcia, sidelined by a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, could rejoin the team in Seattle.

• RHP Bruce Rondon has elected to decline his outright assignment and become a free agent. He was designated for assignment on Wednesday.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, James Shields