MINNEAPOLIS -- Nate Jones will pitch again during the 2014 season. He just isn't sure when that return is going to take place.
The hard-throwing right-handed reliever underwent a microdiscectomy in May to correct ongoing back issues leading to hip pain. But a good sign in Jones' recovery is that he has joined the White Sox for their three-city, 11-game road trip to continue his rehab work, beginning Thursday in Minneapolis.
"I feel part of the team again, getting to watch the team on the field instead of on TV," Jones said. "So that's pretty awesome. I'm glad to get to this point because it means I'm throwing.
"We're getting closer, that's for sure. I'm still increasing my workload and the amount of new things I'm doing. So it's really day to day. Increasing my exercises and see how I react the next day. If all goes good, we're going to increase the workload."
Jones has increased his sprints up to 120 feet, and throwing wise, he's back to 140 or 150 feet making 15 throws. He also gets to throw 10-to-15 pitches on flat ground.
"It's all fastballs," Jones said. "But it's going well."
If all continues to go well, including upcoming bullpens and rehab assignments, Jones hopes for a late July or early August return. He stressed that was pure conjecture on his part.
"Where we saw him a month-and-a-half ago, for him to be out on the road is good," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Jones.
Carroll's hat business gets a boost
MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Carroll, the entrepreneur, received a postgame boost from Chris Sale, his White Sox teammate, on Wednesday evening. Of course that boost came in the form of a well-played practical joke.
Carroll joined with his friend, Ryan McClellend, in a product called Doodlehats.com. The hats feature dry-erase material on the front so the owner can change messages from day to day or hour to hour. Carroll gave out those hats, which go for around $20, to his teammates and Sale wore it after his victorious start over the Giants. The one caveat is that Sale wrote Carroll's cell phone number on the hat, with the message, "Call me."
"When I came out of the shower, I saw he was wearing the hat. And I was like, 'That's cool. He's wearing it. I'm happy someone is finally wearing it for an interview,'" a smiling Carroll said Thursday. "I get closer and I see my number on there and I was like, 'Son of a … .'
"It was really funny. I thought it was awesome. I thought it was a great prank. That's why I was joking and said you try to do something nice for a guy and that's how they repay you."
Hundreds of calls came in to Carroll's phone Wednesday night into Thursday morning. He joked that many people hung up or left a voicemail along the lines of "Chris Sale told me to call this number. Call me back." Carroll has not returned any of the 50-or-so voicemails.
"If anything, it's going to help out doodle hats, which is cool," Carroll said. "I'm still debating if whether or not I have to change my number. Basically what we live in now is a hashtag world and it's just trying to be a part of that. You can write anything on it and wipe it off and write something new in seconds. It's great for parties. It's just a fun little gift."
Garcia joins the team in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS -- Having Avisail Garcia join the White Sox on this three-city, 11-game road trip, coupled with the throwing work he has been doing in Chicago, is a good psychological boost for the right fielder lost for the season due to surgery repairing a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder.
This trip represents another step in the road back for Garcia, with the potential to play winter ball after the 2014 season and before a healthy 2015 return.
"It's possible," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Garcia and winter ball. "You want him to go play so he's ready for Spring Training. You don't want that to be the first time he has played in a year.
"I'm sure that's something that will be discussed, where he's going to play and how much and things like that. But it would also be determined by [White Sox head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] to see where he's at in his rehab just to make sure he's 100 percent when he goes out there."
Ventura still doesn't see Garcia in the picture for '14.
"But when they start making their way back," Ventura said. "you want them to be around it as much as they can so when they do get back on the field, it isn't that odd."
Third to first
• The rainout of a game against the Tigers on June 10 will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Aug. 30 at U.S. Cellular Field. Game 1 will start at 12:10 p.m. CT and Game 2 at 6:10 p.m. Game tickets and parking coupons from the postponed game on June 10 can only be used for the first game of the doubleheader. Tickets for both games are available at whitesox.com.
• Chicago White Sox Charities and the White Sox Wives will host the second annual variety show event, "Wild Pitches," on Sunday, July 20 at Bub City in Chicago.
Members of the White Sox will showcase their off-the-field talents, including a performance from Paul and Jennifer Konerko. The evening of comedy, music and entertainment will be hosted by Chicago standup comedian Pat McGann and feature live music by the Rendition Band. The event also includes both live and silent auction packages.
Participating players and members of the White Sox Wives group include Brittany and Gordon Beckham, John Danks and his wife, country singer Ashley Monroe, Katie and Adam Eaton, Nancy and Tyler Flowers and Lacy and Nate Jones. Manager Robin Ventura and his wife Stephanie also are participating. Tickets are available at whitesoxcharities.org.
• Jose Abreu leads the American League with an 11.35 at-bat/homer ratio.