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Closer hopeful Jones now throwing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Reliever Nate Jones, who was out of action at the start of spring training with a gluteus muscle strain, had a second consecutive day of baseball activity Friday.

Jones, who is one of the lead candidates to take over the vacant closer’s job, progressed to throwing at 120 feet as the White Sox take the cautious approach with an injury the right-hander suffered in preparation for spring training.

With a fastball in the high 90-mph range and a curve ball that was instrumental in turning around his season in 2013, Jones is considered by many to be the lead candidate to take over at closer. Matt Lindstrom, who was used as the closer for the Houston Astros in 2010, is also a prime candidate for the job.

Despite missing the first week of action, during which other pitchers have progressed to throwing live batting practice, Jones does not believe he is far behind his teammates when it comes to preparation for the March 31 season opener.

“Obviously, to see those guys in the batter’s box, see live hitting, I think that’s the most important thing,” Jones said. “I think that’s the most important thing that gets me ready for the season. As long as I see that a couple times, I’ll be good.”