Closer's role remains an unanswered question

Closer's role remains an unanswered question

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Any search for the 2014 White Sox closer probably won't be solved until the first time the team takes a ninth-inning lead during the regular season.

"To even talk about closer, it's premature," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I'll go back to what I said a while ago. When they're all healthy, we feel like we've got a couple, three guys who can go out and do it."

Slowly but surely, the White Sox closing options are getting healthy.

Ronald Belisario, whose arrival was delayed until last Saturday because of visa issues in Venezuela, is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Thursday against the Angels. Daniel Webb, who returned home to Kentucky for one week because of the death of his mother, made his second scoreless appearance on Wednesday.

And Matt Lindstrom, who has not appeared in a Cactus League game because of a strained left oblique, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday. If all goes well, he'll throw again on Saturday and could get into a game shortly thereafter.

Cooper remains confident that Lindstrom can break camp with the team.

"If we have another breakdown, then we might have to put the full-court press on him," said Cooper. "That's why we did it like this in the first place.

"Let's take the days now and hopefully we don't have to miss any days later. We know what he can do."

Nate Jones has two successful appearances under his belt after bouncing back from a left glute strain, going through the middle of the Rangers lineup in his one inning Tuesday. Jones seems to be the favorite, but whether he gets the job won't be known for another few weeks.

"Three of the guys we're talking about haven't participated," Cooper said. "We can't even talk about that. It's just a little too premature."

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.