Pitching coach Don Cooper returns after bout with diverticulitis
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org April 20, 2013 9:02PM
Updated: May 22, 2013 7:11AM
For three days after being admitted to a Washington hospital with diverticulitis, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was out of commission. But after that, he started coaching from his hospital bed.
‘‘I was texting guys left and right,’’ Cooper said upon his return to the team Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. ‘‘During their outing. During the game. After the game. Texting the catchers. Just praising them for some of the great stuff I was seeing them do.’’
For what it’s worth, Sox pitchers were 0-3 with a 7.13 ERA in the three games that Cooper was incommunicado. Once he started coaching from his hospital bed, they were 3-4 with a 3.02 ERA in the last seven games of the 3-7 road trip.
Cooper said he picked up a few things from his perspective in the hospital that he might not otherwise have seen from the ballpark.
‘‘Yeah, there were a couple of things we talked about,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘I’m always looking at how we can get better. There were a couple of things with individual guys — nothing major — but things we’re going to stay on top of. I don’t want to give away trade secrets. But I’d like to think they could help.’’
Cooper, 56, was in good spirits upon his return.
‘‘I’m a lot better,’’ he said. ‘‘The people in the Washington hospital, they were really good people and really took good care of me — as well as Herm [Schneider] and Brian Ball [the Sox’ trainers] the morning of the incident.
‘‘But there are so many people that wake up with pain every day — so many people that have it so much worse than I had it. I had what amounted to a bad stomach ache for five straight days. It’s small potatoes compared to many other people.
‘‘I’ve never been in this spot. I didn’t see anything in Washington at all. I wasn’t in shape to watch anything in those days. That’s when I was at my worst. Then I saw every game in Cleveland and every game in Toronto. And it was hard. It’s hard to watch because you want to be there as a coach. You’d like to think you can add something that can help. But they did well . . . in many ways, the pitching staff. We’re looking to continue that.’’
Having Cooper back in the clubhouse was a lift to the team’s morale. Right?
‘‘No, not at all; it was a good trip,’’ manager Robin Ventura deadpanned before turning more serious. ‘‘No. It’s good to have him back. We missed him. I know he missed us and doing stuff. We kind of feel normal again.’’