CHICAGO -- White Sox reliever Nate Jones underwent nerve repositioning surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday, costing him the remainder of the 2017 season.Jones, 31, pitched in 11 games during the 2017 season and posted a 2.31 ERA, striking out 15 and walking six over 11 2/3 innings. The
CHICAGO -- White Sox reliever Nate Jones underwent nerve repositioning surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday, costing him the remainder of the 2017 season.
Jones, 31, pitched in 11 games during the 2017 season and posted a 2.31 ERA, striking out 15 and walking six over 11 2/3 innings. The right-hander has been on the disabled list since May 4 (retroactive to May 1) with right elbow neuritis and has not pitched in a game since throwing a scoreless inning in Detroit on April 28.
After throwing off flat ground on Friday in Denver, Jones still felt uncomfortable and returned home Sunday before the end of the first half to be re-evaluated. The good news is that the ligament was intact and not the issue in the elbow.
"That's unfortunate," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn of Jones' setback. "Part of the Tommy John surgery sometimes is moving the nerve, to have it displaced. Over the course of time since his Tommy John surgery, as happens in some cases, some scar tissue forms around the nerve, which creates irritation with throwing, and that is unfortunately what Nate experienced, and ultimately they had to go in and clean up the scar tissue, best I can understand it.
"From a long-term prognosis standpoint, yes he is out for the year. However, he's expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of Spring Training next year. Obviously we all know how hard of a worker Nate is, and we saw how successful he came back from the original surgery, so we are optimistic that he'll follow the same path this time around and be a solid contributor in '18."
In 2014, while rehabbing from a microdiscectomy, Jones underwent Tommy John surgery, as referred to by Hahn, on July 29. He made a career-high 71 appearances during the '16 campaign, tying for the American League lead with a career-high 28 holds. Fifty-six of his 71 appearances were scoreless, 39 were hitless, and he recorded at least two strikeouts 22 times.
This season marks the second year of a three-year, $8 million deal for Jones and the White Sox. There are club options for 2019, '20 and '21.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.