WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It’s not quite the same as having Don Cooper in the dugout, but the White Sox have adjusted well to interim pitching coach Bobby Thigpen.
Their comfort with Thigpen, the team’s regular bullpen coach, can only be a good thing after it was learned Cooper will miss the final eight games of this early 10-game road trip as he continues to recover from diverticulitis.
On Thursday, the club announced Cooper, who has been in an Arlington, Va. hospital since Tuesday morning, won’t travel to Cleveland or Toronto. Once Cooper is released, plans call for him to head back to Nashville, Tenn. to continue to rest.
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But even though Cooper isn’t in the dugout for games, Thigpen said he’s still very active in each day’s gameplan.
“We talk every day,” Thigpen said. “We’re going to talk tomorrow, obviously. Thankfully he’s feeling a little bit better. The quicker he can get back, the better. He’s part of the team, the pitching coach. It’s weird. Basically we talk about the same stuff, keeping the guys on the same track they’re on.”
Manager Robin Ventura said the biggest difference between Cooper and Thigpen is in the conversations they have in games. Cooper’s style is to be very thorough with information, Ventura said.
“It’s different,” Ventura said. “You get used to the conversations we have daily during the games, while it was going on -- who we’re using, why and everything else. It’s different, but Bobby’s intelligent. He’s on it and picked it up fairly quickly.”
Catcher Tyler Flowers said there’s little difference on the field. He said the biggest change is in the dugout and in some of the pregame strategy sessions. Flowers complemented Cooper for always having an extra tidbit of information for him to use as he chose.
“It’s a little different for me not to have Coop yapping in my ear between every inning, positive or negative,” Flowers said with a smile. “Thiggy is starting to get the hang of it. He was yapping at me yesterday a little bit. I think it’s going to be fun. Hopefully Coop recovers quickly.”
Curt Hasler, the organization's pitching coordinator, is joining the team in Cleveland and will help as a bullpen coach.