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Sox pitching coach Don Cooper on mend; Ramirez warming up to April ball

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sox AT
NATIONALS

The facts: 6:05 p.m., CSN,
670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The pitchers: Dylan
Axelrod (0-0, 0.00) vs. Dan Haren (0-1, 13.50).

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Updated: April 10, 2013 11:59PM



WASHINGTON — Don Cooper is finding out that diverticulitis is worthy of good-natured teasing but nothing to mess with.

The White Sox pitching coach, who was admitted to Ivona Hospital in northern Virginia Tuesday morning, was still battling the lower abdominal issue and won’t return to the team until the weekend series in Cleveland at the earliest.

Cooper is improving, however, the Sox said.

“He doesn’t feel great, but there’s a probability he will be going with us to Cleveland,’’ manager Robin Ventura said Wednesday.

The Sox, Ventura included, have had some light-hearted fun cracking wise about Cooper’s “bad boiler.”

After Cleveland, the Sox play in Toronto. Cooper will want to be close to or at 100 percent if he leaves the country.

“I know we joke about it,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘But when he feels better, he’ll be on the road with us.”

Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen has taken over Cooper’s duties.

Cold? What cold?

Alexei Ramirez is finally warming up to playing in the cold. Not that the Cuban shortstop likes to. He’s just finally beginning to win the mind-over-matter battle of April chills.

“The cold weather, it’s psychological,’’ Ramirez said. “You have to prepare yourself mentally for it.’’

A career .226 hitter in April, Ramirez is 9-for-29 (.310) with two doubles and a homer in the first eight games.

That said, Ramirez was enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures in Washington.

“The game needs to [be] played in warm weather,’’ Ramirez said.

In need of a mixer

Jose Quintana breezed through four innings of his first start, then got hammered for six hits, including five in a row, during a four-run fifth inning against the Mariners.

The left-hander’s next start is Friday, when the Sox open a series in Cleveland.

“I have to make some small adjustments with my command,’’ Quintana said.

Quintana and Cooper emphasized working on his arm-side (away from right-handed hitters) command during spring training. His bread-and-butter was pounding the inside of the strike zone, but hitters adjusted.

That trend continued Friday.

“Particularly in that inning they were jumping on everything,’’ Quintana said. “What I got out of that is, the next time I face them I’ll have to throw something off-speed in there early on. Just to get them off-balance. I could see that.

“Especially once you see the lineup the first time. I have to change it up the second and third time through.’’

Managing just fine

Ventura, who has double-switched on multiple occasions in this interleague series, said he’s comfortable managing the National League game.

“I’ve played in the NL, too,’’ he said. “It’s good team-wise, the players get more action so guys are ready. For a manager, there’s just different things going on. In the American League, when you pull a pitcher it’s because you want to pull a pitcher.’’

Ventura played former Nat Adam Dunn in left field, resting Dayan Viciedo against right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.

This and that

The start to Wednesday’s game was delayed 15 minutes because the umpires arrived late due to heavy traffic.

◆ The Sox are offering two free tickets to city police and firemen for their bravery and service. Fourteen dates are available. For info, go to whitesox.com.



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