GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's sore on Thursday after taking a comebacker off his knee a day earlier, but Nate Jones is encouraged after walking off the field without any assistance.
The White Sox reliever is temporarily out of action after Wednesday's scare, when he took a one-hopper off his right knee. Even so, Jones — who went 5-3 with three saves, a 2.11 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings last season — said he doesn't expect to miss the World Baseball Classic. He and closer David Robertson are headed for Miami on Monday to join workouts for Team USA, which plays its first game on March 10. Jose Quintana (Colombia), Miguel Gonzalez (Mexico) and Giovanni Soto (Puerto Rico) are also participating in the WBC.
"A little sore this morning, but the stability is good so it's all good," Jones said. "Just be sore for a couple days. Take it easy today, get after it tomorrow.
"Once you mess with your foundation, your knees and legs and feet, it's a little scary for sure. It got me right on the nerve, so went down pretty quick."
Jones said the club planned to be cautious with him on Thursday but believes he'd be able to participate on Friday. He recorded two outs in the seventh inning on Wednesday but immediately limped off the field after he was struck with the one-hopper off the bat of Arizona's Ildemaro Vargas. Jones' leg bore a huge red mark and bruising on the right side of his right leg just below his knee cap. He said the hamstring connects where he was hit, which could lead to soreness there, too.
Still, after the closest call of his career, Jones feels fortunate.
"It got me right on that nerve, got some feeling back but it was sore and tight walking off," Jones said. "We've seen guys blow out their knee before, so to walk off was encouraging."