GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rookie right-hander Nate Jones has won a spot on the White Sox pitching staff, beating out veteran Brian Bruney for the 12th and final spot on the pitching staff.
Eduardo Escobar, as expected, beat out Rey Olmedo for the 25th spot as a utility infielder.
Jones, 26, pitched a scoreless inning after walking the first two batters he faced against the Royals on Friday night, then worked his way out of trouble. Bruney was tagged for four runs in his first inning of work, then settled down and pitched two scoreless innings.
The Sox announced six roster moves Saturday morning, finalizing their Opening Day roster. Right-hander Dylan Axelrod was optioned to AAA Charlotte, and they reassigned Bruney, catcher Hector Gimenez, infielder Rey Olmedo, left-hander Leyson Septimo and left-hander Eric Stults to minor-league camp.
General manager Ken Williams said he had a good idea two weeks ago that Jones would make the team. With a mid-to-upper 90s fastball and a curveball that is rated the best in the Sox organization, the Sox are willing to look past Jones' control issues to see what he can do at the major-league level.
"He's not out of nowhere for us,'' Williams said Saturday. "When you throw 97-100 mph with a hard curve ball, and I think you guys finally saw the changeup a little bit [Friday] night, which we developed when he went down to start a couple years ago so that he could have something...with a changeup around the 86 mph range with some sink and fade to it, along with the curveball that makes everything better.''
Jones' promotion, as well as Escobar's, falls in line with the Sox' plan to inject youth on the roster in their semi-rebuilding phase while still expecting to compete for the postseason.
"One of the things we talked about was our confidence in some of the guys coming in the bullpen,'' Williams said. "We thought that would be a strength of ours, why we decided to use one of our main strengths with guys like Addison Reed, Hector Santiago and Nate Jones.''
Williams said he traded closer Sergio Santos and his club-friendly contract in the offseason for top pitching prospect Nestor Molina because of his confidence in Reed, Santiago and Jones.
"I know these names were not on the tips of every White Sox fan's tongue but we felt as development and scouting people, that moving Chris Sale into the rotation and still having a solid rotation building for the future while making moves gives us depth in the minor leagues. People falsely -- hopefully -- are looking at our club saying because they have youth they're not going to compete. This is a mistake, these are talented people, they're confident and they have a lot of heart.''