Bobby Thigpen a great pen pal for Addison Reed
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter August 23, 2013 10:50PM
Robin Ventura, Greg Gibson
RANGERS AT WHITE SOX
The facts: 6:10 p.m., CSN/MLBN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Yu Darvish (12-5, 2.68 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (4-7, 3.27).
Updated: September 25, 2013 6:16AM
White Sox manager Robin Ventura doesn’t downplay the advantage of having former Sox great Bobby Thigpen helping in the bullpen this season.
Thigpen, who set the saves record of 57 in 1990 before it was broken in 2008, has been a special mentor to closer Addison Reed.
“Juan [ Nieves] did a great job [last year], but you have a guy there who has been through it and understands it,’’ Ventura said of Thigpen. “[Reed and Thigpen] are similar in a lot of ways in that they always wanted the ball. I’m sure there is a bit of chemistry they have formed, even from the minor leagues [where Thigpen coached]. It’s nice to have a guy down there who understands what [Reed] is going through and has been through it.’’
Reed has saved the last six games to set a franchise record and is the first reliever in the majors to do it since Eric Gagne in 2003. He’s fourth in the American League with 34 saves.
“He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities early, so to go on a run like this where he’s in [games] pretty much every night [is impressive],’’ Ventura said.
“You can’t have your best stuff every night, but to be able to get it done, he finds a way to get that save. It’s kind of a learning curve for him that you don’t necessarily have to have your best stuff to get people out.’’
Sox players and coaches will attend the MLB Beacon Awards luncheon Saturday at the Chicago Marriott before the annual Civil Rights Game. Former Sox star Bo Jackson is this year’s recipient of the honor given to individuals exemplifying the spirit of the Civil Rights movement.
“We’re fortunate to have it,’’ Ventura said. “It’s important that all our guys go, sit and listen and understand and appreciate what has evolved and where the game is right now.’’
Of the seven former Sox and Cubs on the Rangers’ roster, pitcher Neal Cotts might have the most compelling story.
Out of baseball after Tommy John surgery in July 2009, he continued with his comeback quest, signing a minor-league contract with the Rangers last season. He was recalled May 21 and has gone 5-2 with a 1.30 ERA.
“I just wanted to see if I could do it again,’’ said Cotts, 33. “That was the whole point of last year. I wanted to get back. If it was going to be the end-all and I wasn’t going to pitch anymore, I wanted to have it be done on the field.’’