Ex-White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper on firing: ‘The bottom line is it hurt’Steve Greenbergon March 12, 2021 at 1:05 am

Chicago White Sox Summer Workouts
Don Cooper looks on during his final season with the Sox. | Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Cooper said on AM-670, “It’s not fun when people you really look up to and admire and care for — care for, that’s the best way to put it — don’t care for you quite as much.”

Eighteen years as White Sox pitching coach. Over three decades in the Sox organization. Thick as thieves with chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

You’d better believe it stung Don Cooper to get fired. Cooper, 65, put it all out there Thursday in an appearance on 670-AM’s Parkins & Spiegel Show.

“I spent more than half my life there,” he said, “and it’s not fun when people you really look up to and admire and care for — care for, that’s the best way to put it — don’t care for you quite as much.”

Who didn’t care for him?

“Obviously nobody,” he said.

Cooper expressed his gratitude for all those years on the South Side and said the Sox’ pitching remains important to him. He called the years after the trades of starters Chris Sale to the Red Sox and Jose Quintana to the Cubs “painful,” though he agreed the rebuilding phase probably was necessary.

That doesn’t mean moving on with Ethan Katz in and him out is the way Cooper would’ve drawn things up.

“The bottom line is it hurt,” he said. “When you’re no longer a part of something, it hurts. But I’m over the hurt and, trust me, I’ve moved on.”

Sliders on the menu

Lucas Giolito established himself among baseball’s best right-handers in 2019 and 2020, but he wants to take his game up another notch. Adding a plus slider to his riding fastball and changeup can do that.

“The big focus of mine in the offseason and spring right now is command of my sider,” Gioito said. “Over the course of the 2020 season, I was able to refine my slider and shape. The consistency out of my hand, moving the way I want it to, that showed later in the season when we were going slider more and more — especially that playoff game [against the Athletics].”

In Game 1 of the Wild Card series, Giolito had three pitches working. The result? A perfect game into the seventh inning.

“The next step is, OK, I own the slider,” he said. “I know how it needs to move, and the next step is cementing it to where I can always go to it and feel confident in it. I’ll throw the changeup in a 3-0 count. I can’t say the same for the slider, but that’s where I want it to be.”

Giolito is scheduled to make his third spring start Friday at the Rangers.

Gambler threatened Rays, Sox

In July 2019, the Sox went to Tampa, Florida, and took two out of three from the Rays. A sports gambler from Napa, California, allegedly took to anonymous Instagram accounts after one of the games and posted violent threats to several Rays players and at least one from the Sox. Benjamin Tucker Patz, 24, pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court. According to reports, he sent similar threats to athletes on various teams across sports.

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