Sox fall to A’s in 10 with bench coach Parent in charge
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 6, 2013 11:10PM
Updated: July 8, 2013 6:51AM
Bench coach Mark Parent managed the White Sox on Thursday.
On Friday, it will be pitching coach Don Cooper’s turn.
Nothing to this, right, Coop?
‘‘You forget quickly, I was the 38th manager,’’ he said, a tongue in cheek reminder of the end of the Ozzie Guillen era, when Cooper managed the Sox to a win and a loss in the last two games of the 2011 season.
Manager Robin Ventura is taking a two-day leave to attend his youngest daughter’s high school graduation. Parent will miss Friday’s game for his son’s graduation, so Cooper will jump into what he calls ‘‘the hot seat’’ and try to do what Parent couldn’t — win a game.
‘‘I’m going to have fun with it and we’re going to try and win,’’ said Cooper, who knows the Sox could really, really use one after their 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Oakland Athletics at U.S. Cellular Field dropped them to 25-33. It was their ninth loss in 10 games.
Cooper’s pitchers gave up four homers, albeit with the bases empty. Yoenis Cespedes hit two and Josh Reddick one against starter Jose Quintana, and ninth-place hitter Adam Rosales hit one against Matt Thornton in the 10th.
So it goes for the Sox of late. Even when they’re pretty good, it’s not good enough. Gordon Beckham raved about Thornton’s stuff, and catcher Tyler Flowers doesn’t know how Rosales got around on Thornton’s hard, inside fastball.
‘‘I think [Rosales] was guessing along with him when he busted him in right there,’’ Parent said.
When Adam Dunn came up with Alejandro De Aza on third with two outs in the 10th against Grant Balfour, he hit an 0-2 pitch deep to left. Parent thought he was going to be 1-0 as a manager as the ball carried, but when Cespedes caught it with his back to the fence, Parent was 0-1.
Parent might have a future as a manager, though. His large and tough, yet good-natured, presence reflects parts of managers he has played for, including Larry Bowa, Buddy Bell and Jim Riggleman. He managed in the Philadelphia Phillies system before joining Ventura’s staff.
‘‘The main thing for the whole staff is that once we came in, it’s not about Robin, it’s not about me, it’s not about Joe [McEwing] or Coop,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s about [the players]. We’re here for them, and we just want them to succeed.’’
Generally regarded as one of baseball’s best pitching coaches, Cooper received a four-year contract (a year longer than Ventura’s) shortly before he managed those games in 2011. Asked Thursday if he would ever want to manage, Cooper said, ‘‘I believe I could be it. I don’t believe it’s an X’s and O’s position. Heck, if you happen to have a guy at bat who can handle the bat and a guy on first who can run, you may put a hit and run on. That’s all personal stuff and what you like to do. I think it’s more handling people and personalities and creating an atmosphere to succeed more than anything.’’
Not that he wants the job now. He communicates well with Ventura and says the staff that’s in place is built for success — recent results notwithstanding.
‘‘We have the right atmosphere here,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘With the atmosphere and work environment that Robin and the rest of the staff have provided, I don’t know if you’ll ever have a better work environment where you can be yourself and just go play.’’