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Jones concentrating on hitting location consistently


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Much like buying real estate, successful pitching really is about one overriding factor for White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.

Location, location, location.

"No matter who you are and what you throw, you still got to be a thrower-to-the-glove guy," Cooper said. "If you throw 99 [mph], the more you throw to the glove the better. Nate Jones is throwing the ball very hard, but our goal for him is to bring that stuff to the glove more.

"Stuff only gets you out for so long. It gets hitters out for so long. Stuff and command of stuff can get them out forever."

Jones, who pitched a hitless inning during Monday's 3-1 win, begins big league season No. 2 with the White Sox and points out that Cooper and the White Sox staff do a great job of making this point abundantly clear. It's all about hitting your spots low or commanding in and out.

With a fastball checking in routinely at 98 or 99 mph, Jones could get away with a missed spot or two in the Minors. He learned in 2012 that those big league mistakes get hit a long way.

"One mistake I made that sticks out in my mind, I threw one 99 but it was belt high over the middle and Billy Butler hit it over the fence dead straightaway," Jones said. "It doesn't matter how hard you throw it, it's all about command and where you are trying to throw it."

Starting pitchers need that pitchability, according to Cooper, meaning they can change speeds and command three or four different pitches. The White Sox actually want that to ring true for all of their hurlers.

"We've always tried to approach things like how do we maximize their physical ability and then maximize command of that physical ability:" Cooper said. "When you get there, then you are as good as you can be. You are maximizing in two areas that have to be looked at."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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