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Jones relieved knee OK after comebacker

White Sox reliever still planning on World Baseball Classic participation
MLB.com @scottmerkin

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If there is a best-case scenario for a pitcher getting hit with a ground ball back to the mound, then White Sox right-hander Nate Jones experienced it Wednesday.

Jones retired the first two Arizona hitters faced in the seventh inning of a 3-2 White Sox victory before Ildemaro Vargas hit a one-hopper off Jones' right knee. The reaction by Jones made it look worse than it actually was as he hobbled off the mound.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If there is a best-case scenario for a pitcher getting hit with a ground ball back to the mound, then White Sox right-hander Nate Jones experienced it Wednesday.

Jones retired the first two Arizona hitters faced in the seventh inning of a 3-2 White Sox victory before Ildemaro Vargas hit a one-hopper off Jones' right knee. The reaction by Jones made it look worse than it actually was as he hobbled off the mound.

"It got me right in the best-case scenario right where the nerve and the hamstring connect down there," Jones said Thursday in the White Sox clubhouse. "It got me right on that nerve.

"Just went down, got that buzz and lost the feeling and went down. Once you start messing with the foundation like your ankles, your feet, your knee, your leg, it was a scary situation at the beginning for me. I didn't know what I was dealing with. I was trying to hobble off to an expert."

White Sox assistant athletic trainer Brian Ball and Triple-A Charlotte head athletic trainer Scott Johnson immediately helped Jones. A stability test was done on the knee, and everything was deemed good for Jones.

"They could see right away it was kind of swelled up," Jones said. "We've seen guys blow out their knee before, so to walk off was encouraging."

The plan was for Jones to relax and take things easy Thursday and then return everything to normal Friday. He will be pitching for Team USA as part of the World Baseball Classic, leaving Monday with David Robertson for a workout, a couple of exhibition games and then competition.

This right knee mishap won't keep Jones out of his highly anticipated participation.

"Definitely trying not to let it do that, that's for sure," Jones said Thursday. "I think tomorrow should be able to go full-go hopefully as long as it's all good. That one was scary. Been hit in the shin and the glute but in the knee like that was the scariest."

"Scary for him and for everybody," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Jones. "You never want to see anybody go down, especially after a ball that's struck. He hit it pretty good. It just caught him in the right spot and gave him a little zinger."

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.

Chicago White Sox, Nate Jones