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Non-save situations helped Sox closer Addison Reed stay ready for the real thing

Chicago White Sox pitcher AddisReed pitches during ninth inning U.S. Cellular Field Chicago Ill. Wednesday April 24 2013. | Andrew

Chicago White Sox pitcher Addison Reed pitches during the ninth inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 24, 2013 11:42PM

Even though it had been eight days since Addison Reed was in a save situation, the White Sox closer kept a tight grip on his competitive edge.

Reed converted his sixth opportunity in as many chances Wednesday with a scoreless ninth inning. Two of his previous four outings were merely for the purpose of staying sharp. So it goes when your team has lost 10 of its last 14 games.

“Those two times out were just to get work but it’s the same mind-set, to get three guys in a row,’’ Reed said. “I’m always ready. If we’re down by four in the eighth inning I know we can score five and I’d be in. I don’t even shut it down [mentally]. If we’re up by seven I know they can score four or five and I’ll be in there.’’

Reed struggled in non-save situations last season (6.20 ERA). He has three scoreless innings in those situations this season, evidence he’s “on” mentally. Not to mention with improved, more consistent command of his pitches.

“I don’t take a different mind-set in non-save situations,’’ he said. “I’m glad to get out there and show people that’s the case.’’

Say this for the 24-year-old, who held down the closer’s job as a rookie last season. There’s no shortage of confidence.

“I mean, even when I’m going bad, I have full confidence,’’ he said. “If I would have blown six saves in a row, I would go out there tomorrow with all the confidence in the world. Honestly, [6-for-6] is nice, and let’s keep going.’’

Reed came into the ninth Wednesday protecting a 3-2 lead, needing three outs to stop the Sox’ four-game losing streak. He retired three of four Indians, allowing his teammates to breathe a sigh of relief.

“Huge,’’ Reed said.

That said, Reed insisted the mood in the clubhouse was relaxed during the losing skid.

“We’re relaxed and not pressing,’’ he said before the game. “The more you tense up and think about the losses the worse you’ll do the next game. This group, you come in here whether we win 10 in a row or lose 10 in a row, it’s going to be the same.’’

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