When Don Cooper recently met with White Sox season ticket holders, he shared his insights on John Danks, Chris Sale and the White Sox closer’s role in 2012. He even spoke on the secrets of Jake Peavy and his views on how fans could best support the team. What did he have to say? Keep reading to find out.
By many White Sox fans, pitching coach Don Cooper is a legend in his own right. A specialist in finding ways to help pitchers maximize their potential, “Coop” is respected by most fans and players alike.
In a recent opportunity for White Sox season ticket holders to meet with their pitching coach, Cooper answered many of the questions on fans minds as we head into spring training.
First as closer Sergio Santos was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Néstor Molina, the Jason Frasor was traded and Chris Sale is bound for the rotation. With rumors abound that Matt Thornton could also be on the trading block, who will be taking the ball in the ninth inning?
“Right now we have no defined closer,” Cooper said. “It will be an open competition in Spring training.”
His rationale appeared to make sense among the fans.
“Having a defined closer limits opportunities for other pitchers in spring training game situations. If it does work out with the guy you name, you’re scurrying to make adjustments.”
While last season, Cooper hope Chris Sale would have grabbed the role, he knows that Sale’s future is in the rotation.
“It’s something he worked for and wanted real bad,” Cooper said. “Several guys are capable, as last year no one expected Sergio Santos to grab the role in only his second year as a major league pitcher.”
While there are several young arms that Cooper is excited to see, he’s most excited to see the progress pitcher Addison Reed has made.
“We got a taste of what he’s capable of last year,” Cooper said. “Unlike years past there are at least three opportunities on our pitching staff.”
While boasting that the White Sox have been among the most healthy teams in the majors in recent years compared to total teams days on the disabled list, he explained that last year’s six man rotation was a one-year experiment done out of injury necessity.
“We have no plans to re-invent the wheel with the six man rotation,” Cooper said.
Cooper also shared his thoughts with anyone who thinks he can fix Jake Peavy’s mechanics, which Sox fans expressed could be a major contributing factor to Peavy’s back and shoulder issues.
“We didn’t get Jake Peavy to fix him,” Cooper said. “We got him to be the Cy Young award winning successful pitcher that he’s always been.
Cooper also shared kind words on pitcher John Danks, expressing how he has grown as a leader and represented the White Sox well on and off the field. On how to best support the White Sox, Cooper offered advice that Sox fans aren’t always good at doing when their team is struggling.
“Show up,” Cooper said. “Through thick and thin be there.”
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