Jones works perfect inning in return from strained glute

Jones works perfect inning in return from strained glute

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Although Nate Jones never has recorded a Major League save, the hard-throwing White Sox right-hander already feels like a closer.

"In one relation or another, we are all kind of closers," said Jones, who made his second Cactus League appearance during Tuesday's 7-6 victory over the Rangers and hurled a scoreless sixth. "As relievers, we have to come in and put the fire out or close out the fifth or sixth inning.

"Closing just happens to be the last three outs and a lot of people put the emphasis on that. But I would still go out and do the same job, throw strikes and attack hitters, try to get guys out early. If it so happens to be as the closer, then that's how it is."

Jones retired Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre on ground-ball outs, while striking out Prince Fielder swinging. The right-hander wasn't thrilled with his fastball location after his first appearance in the return from a strained left glute but benefited from focusing on that pitching aspect during a bullpen session with pitching coach Don Cooper.

"That's your best pitch. You got to locate and command and put it where you want to," said Jones of his fastball. "It's pretty important. It's No. 1 on the list.

"It felt pretty good. It was an improvement on my first outing. Got to throw the heater more for strikes. Now just keep improving. Maybe throw more first-pitch strikes."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for 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.