LOS ANGELES -- Reliever Nate Jones was a surprise during Spring Training, winning the final spot in the White Sox bullpen as a rookie.
He has found success during his first time in the Major Leagues. Entering Sunday's game against the Dodgers, Jones had struck out 33 in 33 2/3 innings and posted a 2.14 ERA. He has issued 11 walks.
"He came into Spring Training not on the radar as far as everybody is looking at him for a lock to make the team, so he's made his way through that in Spring Training and really solidified himself as a big leaguer," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's been put in some tough situations and come through. He's been reliable. He's been durable. Beyond the kind of arm he has, things like that, he has a lot of great qualities for a reliever."
Twenty-two of Jones' 26 appearances have been scoreless this season. On Friday, he pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning against the Dodgers. On Saturday, with a runner on second base, Jones struck out Jerry Hairston Jr. and got Bobby Abreu to pop out to end the seventh.
"I think it's all about going out there and having confidence in yourself, throwing strikes and letting the defense do the job and listening to your catcher back there," Jones said. "[Catcher] A.J. [Pierzynski] does a heck of a job calling the game. He knows the hitters better than I do. I trust what he puts down and just throw with confidence."
Jones credited his slider for his number of strikeouts.
"I try to throw it the same way as my fastball and let it work off my fastball, too," he said.
As one of several youngsters in the bullpen, Jones has often appeared in the sixth and seventh innings, recording four holds.
"The goal for me when I first got [the role] was staying up here all year, proving that I belong. I just keep working toward that every day," Jones said. "Just go out there and prove that I can throw strikes and prove that I belong."