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Confident Jones leaves poor start behind

Published: Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 5:28 p.m. CDT

(MCT) CHICAGO — White Sox manager Robin Ventura expressed confidence in Nate Jones' confidence.

After a rough start to the season for Jones, the Sox right-handed reliever entered Wednesday's game against the Yankees 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in 292/3 innings since June 1.

That's a big turnaround as Jones was 1-4 with a 6.58 ERA in April and May.

"Jonesy's come a long way from where the season started," Ventura said. "I think he got off to a rough stretch confidence-wise, and he's just come back. I don't know if there's anybody as confident in the league right now coming out of the bullpen and locking down an inning.

"Left, right, anything, it doesn't matter. You want him in the game."

Jones entered Tuesday's win against the Yankees with one out in the eighth inning and struck out Curtis Granderson and Lyle Overbay.

Jones, who went 8-0 with a 2.39 ERA as a rookie last season, said Wednesday the early slump was a learning experience. His renewed confidence comes from improvement in his secondary pitches to go with a fastball that was clocked at 101 mph Tuesday.

"I'm feeling pretty good with all three of my pitches, the slider and changeup especially," Jones said. "They're awesome when you throw them for strikes to get people off your fastball. Maybe that's what I was running into trouble with early in the season. I wasn't locating my secondary pitches, so they could sit on that."

Jones said he hasn't thought about the trajectory of his career beyond this season.

"As long as I'm still pitching in the big leagues, that's all that matters," he said.

Leesman to debut: Ventura said left-handed pitcher Charlie Leesman will make his major league debut Friday in the second game of a home doubleheader against the Twins. John Danks will pitch the opener, Ventura said.

Leesman, who had ACL surgery last fall, has gone 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts in Triple-A Charlotte this season.

"We get good reports on Charlie, and let's see what we got," Ventura said.

Extra innings: Adam Dunn was out of the starting lineup for a rest day. ... Dayan Viciedo returned from a jammed thumb as the designated hitter. ... Casper Wells started in left field.

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