"We lost our opening day starter (John Danks ) and it seemed like we had to plug holes throughout the year. I think we basically did that."
Danks had season-ending shoulder surgery on Aug. 5 after dealing with the injury since early May. He was 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA before the injury ended his season.
At one point or another the White Sox used 10 rookie pitchers during the season. During a stretch in July the team had six rookies in the bullpen to go along with veteran Matt Thornton and still managed to stay in first place for 117 games. That in itself is a testament to Cooper and the coaching staff's handling of a group of young pitchers.
"I'd like to see our overall record with rookies only," Cooper said. "I will bet it is 10 games over (.500 ). As a team we did not get where we wanted to go. That said I‘m not so sure we didn't get everything that we could out of them."
Cooper has the reputation of providing positive reinforcement and helping players refine pitches and add nuances to their game. He's helped several pitchers by having them add a cut fastball.
The Sox's starting rotation is up in the air for next season. Jake Peavy is a potential free agent and the club holds an option for 2013 on Gavin Floyd.
“We will get together and discuss the whole team," Cooper said. "It will be up to (the front office ) to figure out. I don't know what is going on with Jake for next year and I don't know what is going on with (Brett ) Myers or Floyd, so those questions have to be examined.”
The Sox pitching coach ruled out switching any of the bullpen pitchers into the rotation for next season except for Santiago. The lefty threw seven shutout innings on Monday night against Cleveland in his last outing of the year.
"I'd like to think that our rookies got two years of experience in one year," Cooper said. "They did it in a pennant race on top of it. I think they all held up pretty well."