White Sox not even close to naming a closer


March 2, 2014 9:27PM

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SURPRISE, Ariz. — The White Sox’ closer competition hasn’t been much of one. Nate Jones was set back by a mild gluteal strain, Matt Lindstrom has a tender left oblique and Daniel Webb left the team because of a death in the family.

At least there’s still time, with Opening Day four weeks away.

‘‘It’s still open,’’ said Jones, who pitched live batting practice Sunday morning and could be ready for game action by Saturday. ‘‘It’s unfortunate everything that has gone on. We’re still battling; I guess you can call it a friendly competition. We’re all rooting for each other, obviously. We don’t want to see each other do bad. It’s a nice little competition. Makes spring interesting for us.’’

Jones threw two sets of 15 pitches.

‘‘I felt really good about the second set out there,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m ready to rock and roll, it feels like.’’

Lindstrom will throw long toss for a third straight day Monday and have a ‘‘touch and feel’’ bullpen session Tuesday. He has downplayed the strain on his left side, but obliques can by tricky injuries, and he never has dealt with one before.

Lindstrom said he had no problems throwing Sunday.

‘‘I’m happy with it,’’ he said. ‘‘The training staff did a good job getting me better. Feeling good.’’

Directing traffic

Felipe Paulino, whose spot in the starting rotation seems to be his to lose, gave up four runs and eight hits and a walk over 1 2/3 innings Sunday. A couple of the Texas Rangers’ hits were on the soft side, and one by Prince Fielder was an infield tapper. Paulino threw 31 of his 47 pitches for strikes and was ahead in the count to most hitters but couldn’t put hitters away.

‘‘He was too much in the middle,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘He was getting ahead, but then he didn’t have anything to put anybody away with.’’

Paulino, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 because of elbow surgery, delivered his fastball in the 92-94 mph range. He’ll have more chances to get better results.

‘‘I’m happy to get back to a real game and show myself that I controlled everything,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s a good thing. I feel OK.’’

Out of sight, out of mind

Ventura had no news about right-hander Ronald Belisario, still absent because of visa problems in Venezuela.

‘‘Believe me, that whole situation has gone dark for me,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I can’t do anything about it.’’

Belisario, who signed a $3  million deal as a free agent, has a history of similar issues.

‘‘I just stop asking,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I said you guys [front office] just tell me when you think he’s going to be here when it gets closer. I’m not going to worry about it.’’

This and that

Paul Konerko was scratched because of an upset stomach. Mike McDade filled in and went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

◆ Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a former Colorado Rockies draft pick acquired by the Rangers in the 2013 Rule-5 draft, will suit up Monday. He won’t play, and it will be his only appearance.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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