CHICAGO -- After experiencing his first loss as a big leaguer Friday night behind eight victories, Nate Jones was back on the mound Saturday afternoon against the Mariners. Manager Robin Ventura wasn't consciously trying to get Jones back in action following his first loss in 67 appearances, as much as the situation called for his entrance.
"I wouldn't mind [starter Dylan] Axelrod going the whole way," said a smiling Ventura. "But you look at what he did last year and you want to get him back in there as soon as possible. The situation had to dictate to get him in there and it did."
Jones has allowed three runs over 2 1/3 innings this season after being one of the surprise players to break camp with the 2012 White Sox and then turning in one of the more under-the-radar successful campaigns for any American League reliever. But don't try to tell Jones that he's now established following his 8-0 effort and 2.28 ERA from 2012.
"I wouldn't say more established. I would say more experienced," Jones said. "I was lucky enough last year to go through it all. So, you know I'm going to take that experience from last year and learn from it. I want to keep that same mentality that I've always got to be fighting and improving myself."
Jones, who touched 100 mph during Spring Training, said his Arizona focus was on maintaining that same confidence level from last year. He found big league success before and knows he can do it again, pumping in strikes and letting the defense do its thing.
He also hasn't lost that special feeling from his first Opening Day, and the feeling from the challenge that followed.
"Maybe the nerves have gone away a little bit for now," said Jones, who will have plenty of late-inning chances after starting last year in middle relief. "But the excitement sure as heck hasn't gone away. I want to go out there and prove the same thing, that I can get guys out."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.