CLEVELAND -- If Nate Jones had his druthers, a 6.58 ERA would not have been attached to his name over April and May. But through adversity, Jones learned more about himself and his game out of the bullpen than he did during his breakthrough rookie campaign of 2012.
"They say it's called finding out the hard way," Jones said. "It was zero fun at all going through it, but I'm glad I did. I learned what I need to work on and how to deal with struggles and stuff like that.
"It was pretty frustrating. I wouldn't say I was doubting myself. I was just, I knew what I could do, what I was capable of and it just wasn't happening at all. And so I was just pretty hard on myself."
The hard-throwing right-hander worked with pitching coach Don Cooper to change his results, focusing simply on throwing more strikes with all of his pitches. He has allowed five earned runs over his last 26 innings, compared to 19 earned runs allowed in his first 26, and he has held first batters faced to a .111 average.
"I think the biggest thing is getting ahead," Jones said. "Throwing that first-pitch strike and throwing more strikes with the slider and changeup. That's helped me get out of that hole pretty good."
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.