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How Jared Jones Was Able to Overcome Frightening Moment, Poor Showing From Last Start

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Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jared Jones warms up in the dugout during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

PITTSBURGH — There was a frightening moment early on in Jared Jones’ start for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday at PNC Park.

Jones hit Rays second baseman Amed Rosario in the face with a 100 mph fastball in the first inning. Rosario was quickly attended to by the Tampa Bay medical staff and left the game with a towel covering his face.

“That sucked. I felt really bad,” Jones said unprompted following the Pirates’ 4-3 win. “Obviously just let a fastball go way up and inside on him. That stuff really just can’t happen. I heard it’s just stitches but I really hope he’s OK.

Thankfully, Rays manager Kevin Cash provided positive news on Rosario, who received a stitch or two to in his upper lip.

Following the scare, Jones was visited on the mound by pitching coach Oscar Marin and battery mate Jason Delay. The Pirates’ backstop had a clear message for the right-hander.

“My message to him after he hit that guy was trust your stuff in zone,” said Delay. “I felt like he was maybe trying to do a little bit too much in that first inning. Whether he took that message, I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. But, he seemed to settle in there. And obviously, had a really good performance for us.”

After the first inning, Jones settled in nicely and matched his career-high with seven innings pitched. The right-hander held the Rays to two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out eight.

Seeing Jones stay composed after hitting Rosario speaks volumes to his maturity, especially considering he’s a young and still inexperienced player.

Considering the emotions and the unknown surrounding the play, seeing Jones get flustered wouldn’t have been out of the question.

But for Delay, he wasn’t surprised to see how the talented rookie carried himself the rest of the way.

“To be honest, that wasn’t a concern for me at all,” Delay said. “He’s such a bulldog on the mound. Obviously feel for him and hope he’s okay. But in terms of Jared’s mentality, there was really no question.”

On top of it, Jones entered Saturday’s start coming off of the worst outing of his career.

Last Saturday against the Rockies at Coors Field, Jones allowed a career-high six runs on six hits in 4.2 innings pitched.

Jones’ mindset heading into his start against the Rays is another example of a veteran mindset for the 22-year-old rookie.

“Just flushing it completely, acting like it never happened,” he said. “I don’t really like to think about the bad, what I’ve done. Keep it going moving forward.”

Though no player wants to go through it, every player has to face adversity at one time or another. The ups and downs that Jones has gone through over the past couple weeks should help him as his career progresses and he gains more experience.

Those challenging times are even more beneficial for a young player, not that Jones is using his youthfulness as a justification.

“That’s just an excuse I think. Saying, ‘oh yeah, I’m young.’ I don’t like saying that. I’m in the major leagues. It’s time to start pitching like a Major League Baseball player. ”

What Jones can do on the mound is special. His mental makeup takes him one step further.

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