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‘Nothing to be Concerned With, I Don’t Think,’ Jared Jones Addresses Lat Injury

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Jared Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH — It had been a while since Jared Jones started a game for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jones last pitched on June 22 against the Tampa Bay Rays at PNC Park and delivered seven-strong innings.

As they continue to monitor the rookie’s workload, the Pirates skipped his turn in the rotation on the latest road trip.

Jones returned to the mound on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals in what ended up a 5-4 win in 10 innings for the Pirates.

After looking a bit rusty early on, Jones pitched well. He held the Cardinals to one run on four hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts in five innings pitched.

Jones was only at 78 pitches, so it seemed plausible that he would head back out for the sixth. Instead, the Pirates turned to Kyle Nicolas.

My initial reaction was that maybe the Pirates were continuing to mange his innings. Instead, manager Derek Shelton announced postgame that Jones was dealing with “a little right lat strain.” and went to the bullpen out of “an abundance of caution.”

“Kind of felt it later in the game,” Jones said after the game. “Kind of just got really tight on me in the fifth inning there. Told them and here we are.”

Any time an injury is mentioned, there is always a sense of worry. That becomes heightened with a player as crucial to the team as Jones has been for much of the season. Following his outing, the right-hander didn’t seem too worried about it, however.

“No, I feel great. Well, obviously not great, but it’s nothing to be concerned with, I don’t think,” he said.

Jones said he will be evaluated, so there should be more information in the coming days.

In terms of what he did when he was in the game, Jones turned in his second-straight solid start after going through a rough patch from late May to the middle of June.

Though he wasn’t awarded the win, Jones showed another encouraging sign that he’s rebounding nicely after his first signs of shakiness as a major-league pitcher.

Jones walked two of the first three batters he faced but was able to quickly settle into a groove. He kept the Cardinals scoreless until the final inning of his outing.

“It looked like he was trying to overthrow a little bit in that first inning,” Shelton said on Jones’ performance early on. “Then Joey (Bart) made a visit and he settled down and was able to execute pitches. I think we saw a full repertoire – we saw curveballs, some changeups – so I was happy. He’s a 22-year-old kid, and it looked like he came out in a division game and wanted to throw it about 115 when he doesn’t have to.”

Jones’ performance this season has been a major reason as to why the Pirates are hanging around the Wild Card race into July. He’s been an anchor in one of the better starting rotations in baseball this season.

Jones, along with fellow rookie Paul Skenes, as well as Mitch Keller and Bailey Falter, have all pitched well for the majority of the season.

Based off of what he and Shelton said after the game, there’s a real chance that Jones could remain in that rotation and avoid a trip to the injured list.

Though that still isn’t a certainty, things look like they could have been a whole lot worse in Pittsburgh.

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