Jones excited to be on Reds’ opening day roster
CINCINNATI — Dorothy said it and Nate Jones is living it. There’s no place like home.
As a youth growing up in northern Kentucky, Jones was a Reds fan and attended numerous games. In fact, when students made the A and B honor roll or had perfect attendance, they were rewarded with two tickets to a Reds’ game and Jones was the recipient several times.
After putting together an impressive training camp, Jones has been added to the Reds major league roster as a member of the bullpen.
“(Manager) David (Bell) called me in the office and talked about the whole spill he wanted guys to know right away if they made the team. He didn’t want them to hear it from somebody else,” said an elated Jones.
“Obviously, my initial reaction was excitement. As a young kid to go from sitting in the stands to pitching on the mound is something special. It’s something not everybody gets to do.”
Jones said he used to watch the Opening Day parade on television along with the game but was never fortunate enough to see an opener. However, he had plenty of other chances to watch the Reds.
“I’m not saying I was the best student or made it to school every day, but when I did, you realized, ‘Hey, you got to go to a Reds’ game.’ So, those experiences with my family were ones that I’ll cherish and never forget.”
Now, Jones will experience Reds’ games with his family but not in the same seating area. Jones will sit in the dugout or bullpen when he’s not in the game while the family is in the stands.
Jones graduated from Pendleton County High School and played at Northern Kentucky University. He signed a minor league contract with the Reds in January.
Jones was with the Chicago White Sox from 2012-19. He posted a 22-13 record overall with a 3.12 earned run average and 318 strikeouts.
The right-hander spent last season with the Texas Rangers and appeared in 13 games due to an injury. He was 0-1 in 10.1 innings with a 3.48 ERA. He struck out 10 and walked seven.
Jones is healthy and he said that proving he was ready to play was one key that convinced the Reds to keep him on the roster. But that wasn’t the only reason.
“I was still able to do my job and attack hitters and get guys out. Whenever you can do that, it makes it a tough decision on the team for me to stay or go. I was glad to be able to continue to do that in the first spring training and spring training 2.0.”
Jones is living in his hometown of Falmouth which is about 40 minutes from Great American Ball Park.
“It’s been a long journey, but it’s definitely been worth it,” said Jones. “For it to be this close to home and for a lot of people to experience with me is pretty exciting and I’m very thankful and very blessed for sure.”
“I get to go home to my home bed each night. Not a lot of guys get the opportunity to do that in their career. When this opportunity arose this off-season, I jumped on it in hopes I could do that. It’s not a bad drive at all. It calms you down after a game at night and gets your mind right on the drive in.”