Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Thornton White Sox closer? That's news to Coop

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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.''

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Do Sox management people ever think before they speak?  Why would Don Cooper express frustration over a presumed lack of communication with his new manager over a public radio show?  His comment indicates he may be as much a problem as a solution and might be the snake Ozzie Guillen indicated he was.  It would have been so easy to sidestep the question by saying “yes, Thornton would be a leading candidate based on his experience last year.  We will also want to take a look at Crain and a few others.”  He chose however to make his manager look bad.  He obviously thinks he is impervious to authority.  Williams has created a monster ego with this guy.  He thinks he has job security no matter who the manager, by answering only to Williams.  Good luck with this one Robin.  My guess, this won’t be the last incident.

I'm a believer in they'll show yo who needs to be in there at that time.''

Cooper said yo?

"Why would Don Cooper express frustration over a presumed lack of communication with his new manager over a public radio show? "

1) He didn't express anything remotely like frustration.

2) Cooper's job is to coach pitching and all that entails as it applies to a) the lineup and to b) bringing along a rookie manager. It's not to be a brainless yes-man who can be thrown into any professional direction based on the word of some media person. The Sox staff is at least part his responsibility, and immediate history and relative experience levels suggest it's more his than anybody else's at this point. It sure as hell ought to be.

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This page contains a single entry by Daryl Van Schouwen published on January 27, 2012 10:15 AM.

White Sox' Rios could be backed into a corner was the previous entry in this blog.

White Sox' Floyd learns to deal with trade rumors is the next entry in this blog.

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