A day or so after White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that lefthander Matt Thornton was probably the leading candidate to close games, pitching coach Don Cooper expressed surprise at the first-year manager's statement.
"Who said that? You're giving me news,'' Cooper told the Mully and Hanley Show on Friday morning. "It's news to me.''
After Cooper, who was en route to SoxFest at the Palmer House, listened to Ventura's comments, he said, "Well, you got more info than me.''
Righthander Jesse Crain has expressed a desire to have a shot at the job and was thought be many to be the leading candidate until Ventura cited Thornton. Thornton was given first crack last year and lost the job to Sergio Santos, who was traded during the offseason.
"Like I said, Matt is certainly capable,'' Cooper said. "You have [prized rookie righthander] Addison Reed is a kid who has to work into it. You can't name him. You got Jesse Crain -- he is a guy who is more than capable. We'll figure it out. Nobody said Santos last year. I'm a believer in they'll show you who needs to be in there at that time.''
Ventura by no means named Thornton the closer. And it may be Cooper, who has a new four-year contract, who has the final say, anyhow. Crain let Cooper know he'd like an opportunity.
"Coaches have an idea going in who they want,'' Crain said. "I just wanted to let Coop know because I have been in the big leagues for eight years and never had that opportunity. One save situation last year. I'd like to get an opportunity to see what I can do.
"That's not taking anything away from Matt and Reed. I just would like an opportunity. Until I got in the big leagues, from 10 years old through college I was a closer. Joe Nathan was with the Twins when I was there, one of the best in the game. I have confidence in myself. It just takes an opportunity. I've really learned a lot and matured the last couple of years. I think I can do it.''