Matt Lindstrom said he hoped that he would need only one bullpen session to get past his problematic left oblique.
Good news! That's still possible.
Bad news! Because he couldn't even throw the one that was scheduled on Wednesday.
Lindstrom played long toss from about 150 feet and felt fine, but when he brought it in to about 50 feet he felt pain he described as "like somebody is shoving a knife in your side." He was only a few throws away from beginning a bullpen session that would've been the first step toward pitching in a Cactus League game, but now he's back to square one.
"I didn’t feel like I wanted to throw a bullpen at that moment so I'm continuing to try and get it better, rehab it a little more since we have so many games left in spring training," Lindstrom said. "Leave myself some breathing room and get back out there so, just going to take it day to day."
If there's any ruthlessness to the closer competition, then Nate Jones twisted the metaphorical knife by throwing a 45-pitch bullpen session with no apparent issues. If he feels fine afterward, he's on track to pitch on Saturday, which would be the first time any apparent closer candidate has appeared in a spring game this year.
Mitchell Boggs is watching the carnage from the outside, and while he could theoretically be a ninth-inning option, he says he's just trying to get back to his 2012 form. Don Cooper and Bobby Thigpen gave him a couple things to remember, and Thigpen likes the results.
The kinds of strains suffered by Jones and Lindstrom are unfortunate, but you can classify them as "better now than later." Jeff Keppinger's shoulder problems, on the other hand, take him down a familiar, unwelcome path.
Keppinger made his second appearance of the spring in Wednesday's 8-0 loss to the San Diego Padres, but he replaced the designated hitter for the second time. He's still trying to build up arm strength -- a couple days ago, Robin Ventura said Keppinger "didn't feel like he could get it across the infield."
Perhaps we could chalk it up to doctors touching his rotator cuff and labrum, but Tyler Flowers had similar surgery in the same month, and he says the shoulder isn't holding him back anymore. Keppinger's persistent woes raise the question about whether he's ever been 100 percent in his White Sox career, and whether he ever will be. Maybe that's alarmist, but everybody was taken for their word about Keppinger last year, and he fell flat on his face, so hypervigilance is a correction of a sort.
And it's also the side to err on, because the Sox can carry on without him. In fact, they're able to answer questions about more pressing issues if he's not in the way. If the Sox discard the concerns about service time, they can throw Matt Davidson into the deep end on Opening Day. If they want to worm around it, they can pretend that they want to see Conor Gillaspie try his hand at everyday duties one more time.
Rick Hahn says it would take a "setback in his schedule" for Keppinger to start the season on the DL. From Hahn's subsequent comments, I'm assuming that this doesn't qualify as a "setback," but unless the Sox have hopes of packaging his Keppinger's contract in a trade like he did with Mark Teahen's dead-end extension, they probably should act like it does. Otherwise, any restrictions for Keppinger's activity are bigger restrictions to the White Sox roster.