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Boggs battling to regain confidence on the mound

Boggs battling to regain confidence on the mound

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Starting the 2013 season as the Cardinals closer didn't work out very well for Mitchell Boggs.

He blew three of his five save opportunities and eventually was traded to the Rockies after being demoted to Triple-A Memphis. But the 30-year-old right-hander might get another chance to close, and it could come with the White Sox.

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Nate Jones has been sidelined since the start of camp by a moderate left glute strain, although he could pitch in a game this weekend. Matt Lindstrom aggravated his left oblique strain while playing long toss Tuesday, and Daniel Webb has returned home to deal with a death in the family. As White Sox manager Robin Ventura pointed out Wednesday, Boggs isn't the frontrunner, but he's the only candidate who has pitched.

Boggs would like another chance to close, but the right-hander is more focused on regaining sharpness off the mound.

"I would be lying if I told you that's something that I'll never want to take a shot at ever again," said Boggs, who is scheduled to pitch Thursday at home against the Mariners. "Obviously, I'm a competitor and I believe in myself and I know I'm a lot better than what I was last year. I've proven that before.

"For me, it's just getting to the spot where I know I can go out there and compete, prepare myself for March 31 and if I get to where I know I can get to, I can compete with anybody in this league in any situation. I know that and I've proven that. I'm going to do everything I can and work as hard as I can to prove that again."

As a setup man in 2012, Boggs was as solid in that role as any National League reliever. He likes the work already done with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen to get back to that form.

Thigpen mentioned that the White Sox have tried to clean up a few small things when Boggs was playing catch, which he carried over to bullpen sessions.

"His last two sides have just been, I think he surprised himself in a way," Thigpen said. "Getting it back to where he was a couple of years ago when he was one of the best in baseball as far as what he did.

"So that and just build his confidence back up because he got beat down last year. Just trying to help this guy realize his potential and what he can do."

The White Sox closer might not be known until the team's first regular-season save situation, much like Hector Santiago in '12. Boggs isn't thinking about the possibilities, remote or otherwise.

"It's obviously something that I've been a part of for a couple of years. And I know that last year, I struggled pretty badly in that spot," Boggs said. "A lot has been written and said about it, and I know it as well as anybody because I lived it every single day.

"When I throw the ball the way I'm capable of throwing it, I can pitch in that role. I can pitch in the seventh and eighth inning. I've proven that. We've got a lot of talented guys here. We are going to be in a good spot with whoever it is. But I've learned the lesson the hard way not to concern myself with that. Just go out there and compete."

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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