Nate Jones says shutdown not an issue

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nate Jones won’t mind being the butt of jokes over his strained gluteus muscle since he remains confident his issue should be behind him soon.

One of the lead candidates for the Chicago White Sox's vacant closer job, Jones thinks he will be back on the mound in a matter of days.

“It’s spring training, so we’ve got time to fix it and let it calm down, let it settle down,” Jones said Sunday morning after getting some treatment in the trainers’ room. “Once I get back out there, I’m still going to compete and attack and go after that job just like everybody else.”

The right-hander said the discomfort is on his left side, again stressing that his downtime is more precautionary than anything. He stressed that if it was the regular season he would have been comfortable pitching through the issue.

“I think it started as a little discomfort, and it didn’t get any better in the past 7-10 days,” Jones said. “I told (trainer Herm Schneider) about it, and we got it checked out and got ahead of it before it got worse.”

Jones said he will do little-to-no activity until about Wednesday or Thursday and hopes that at that time he will get back into the fold. Cactus League games don’t even start until Feb. 28 and even if the right-hander needs a few more days after that until he is game-ready, it shouldn’t be an issue leading toward the March 31 season opener at home against the Minnesota Twins.

“I think they would have done this with anybody,” Jones said about the extremely cautious approach the White Sox are taking. “It’s spring training for everyone -- pitchers, catchers and when the position players get here. We want to take care of it now rather than during the season.”