For now, White Sox bullpen running behind schedule

For now, White Sox bullpen running behind schedule
March 5, 2014, 5:45 pm
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Well over half the White Sox bullpen hasn't pitched in a spring training game, but only six days into Cactus League action there's not a whole lot of concern yet.

Two pitchers have dealt with nagging injuries in Nate Jones (strained gluteal muscle) and Matt Lindstrom (strained left oblique), though Jones is on track to make his spring debut over the weekend. Daniel Webb has been absent from camp due to a death in the family, and the White Sox have given the righty as long as he needs to deal with his loss.

[MORE: Lindstrom's recovery hits a setback]

Ronald Belisario still hasn't reported to Glendale due to an ongoing visa issue, and manager Robin Ventura said Tuesday the Venezuelan's status has "gone dark."

Lefty specialist Scott Downs also hasn't appeared in a game yet, though getting the 12-year veteran into a game isn't a necessity early into spring training. He has thrown a few bullpen sessions, including one on Wednesday.

"He doesn’t need a lot," Ventura said. "He’s a guy who’s been around. He knows what he needs, so I wouldn’t see him in there for a ton of games, but he’ll get enough, probably more in the middle and later in spring."

[MORE: Chris Sale balancing intensity with spring objectives]

If the White Sox take seven relievers northeast with them to Chicago later this month, only two of the likely members of that group -- Donnie Veal and Mitchell Boggs -- have appeared in a Cactus League game. The beginning of the closer competition has been delayed, and the only pitcher with a shot at the ninth who's thrown is Boggs.

"You’re pretty opened-minded when you haven’t seen any of them," Ventura said. "Boggs is the only one that’s been in a game, so right now he’d probably be the frontrunner."

Ventura was mostly joking about Boggs, clarifying that he's not actually the leading candidate for the job right now. 

"But he’s the only one that’s thrown," Ventura added.