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Nate Jones returns possibly better than ever

CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox reliever Nate Jones has returned and is as healthy as ever, with refined pitching mechanics to make sure it stays that way.

Jones has been out for more than a year -- first because of a back issue, and then because he needed Tommy John surgery. He was activated to the 25-man roster Wednesday. Reliever Daniel Webb was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a mid-right back strain.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” Jones said. “It’s going to be hard to contain it out there whenever I do get to pitch, but I think after that first pitch we can finally put a closing on the whole rehab process so I’m looking forward to that.”

Jones was trying to return from a minor back procedure last season when he blew out his elbow during the rehab process. He hasn’t pitched in a major league game since April 3, 2014, and never did record an out in his two outings last season.

Not only has Jones climbed the mountain and returned from all his ailments, the radar gun suggests he is even better than ever. The right-hander has always had velocity in the high 90-mph range, but during his recent minor league rehab stints the gun was showing 100-mph readings.

Yes, the surgery has helped his strength to return, but Jones has something else that he will be using to his advantage.

“I feel stronger, because I think we cleaned up my mechanics a little bit,” he said. “I got everything going towards the plate, and it makes a lot less stress on everything else on your body. I feel stronger and I feel better.”