The White Sox won't name a closer until the last possible second, but Nate Jones appears the odds-on favorite to win the job as pitchers and catchers report to Glendale this week.

The 28-year-old Jones isn't viewing the ninth inning as his to lose, given the presence of Matt Lindstrom (who has prior closing experience) and Daniel Webb (who pitching coach Don Cooper mentioned when asked about the closer gig during SoxFest). Cooper and the White Sox, too, have an erratic history of picking closers, though more times than not they've been successful in doing so.

With all that in mind, Jones is entering spring training viewing it as an open competition.

"I don't want to assume anything because when you start assuming stuff, worse stuff happens," Jones said last month at SoxFest. "But I use that as motivation. If it's open, I want to go for it. That's what's going to motivate me through spring training."

Jones has the prototypical closer repertoire — an upper-90's fastball and wipeout slider that comprise about 95 percent of the pitches he throws — and has a solid major league track record to pair with it. In his two years with the White Sox, Jones has faced 210 batters in high leverage/pressure situations and has limited them to a .682 OPS.

But players preach a different pressure in the ninth, the kind of pressure that comes with the finality of things when a pitcher leaves the mound. That's just half of the mental barrier — the other half is working past a blown save and not letting it have a lingering negative effect.