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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Vets leading way for solid Sox bullpen

By Bruce Levine

Nate Jones
Nate Jones said the veterans' work ethic has made an impact on him.
KANSAS CITY -- What a difference a good bullpen makes when the pennant races heat up.

The White Sox have gotten a tremendous lift from their relievers who have allowed just one earned run in the last four games -- 0.69 ERA in 13 innings.

Much of the credit for the resurgent group must be credited to manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper, who have provided support for the younger members of the staff and needed rest for the veterans whose innings have begun to mount.

"I have been lucky enough to have some days off and (Cooper ) has watched it for me, which really helps out," said Nate Jones, who won his eighth game without a loss on Monday. "The coaching staff has been doing this for a long, long time so they know when guys can come back-to-back days."

Other elements of a successful bullpen come from pitchers helping each other out.

"I watch our veteran guys every day," Jones said. "They go 100 percent because they know what how important each game is. These guys are bulldogs, you want to model yourself after them. They are like that on and off the field. The routine that they do, the work they do on cardio working hard, you pick up a lot of things just watching them."

General manager Ken Williams has done his job well adding veterans Jesse Crain in 2011 and Brett Myers from the Philadelphia Phillies before the trading deadline this season.

"Getting a late-inning guy like Brett has been huge for us," Matt Thornton said. "He has gone to the playoffs. He has gone to the World Series. He has won a World Series. You can’t really put a price tag on that."

The leadership from Thornton, Myers and a healthy Crain has been the difference for the Sox in the last two months, helping take pressure off the younger bullpen guys.