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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Best lefty relievers? Cooper thinks so

By Doug Padilla

Every once in a while somebody offers a biased opinion that when you sit back and think about it for a bit, it might not be bragging or simply a spasm of wishful thinking.

On that note, we present you White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who never has been one to doubt his charges … at least not in public anyway.

Talking about his bullpen over the weekend, Cooper sounded like a proud father who went from wishing well for his kids to convincing himself that they would have success to telling anybody who would listen that they would one day stand up and make everybody take notice.

The addition of left-hander Will Ohman, while not earth-shattering (his $4 million contract over two years tells us that), was enough, though, for Cooper to make a bold statement.

“I don’t believe other teams can say they have a better group of lefties [in the bullpen] than we do,” Cooper said. “Somebody might have a group that’s as good, but I don’t know about better.”

That statement, though, assumes that Chris Sale is a part of that group along with Ohman and Matt Thornton, who was an All-Star last season. The White Sox might still need Sale to start some games, especially early in the season, a decision that won’t necessarily get Cooper’s stamp of approval.

“It’s unfair and too much to ask from a young guy until he gets situated,” was Cooper’s quote on the subject when asked if Sale could handle dual starting and relieving roles in the upcoming season.

Anyway, Cooper has laid it out on the line. He likes what he has from the left side and isn’t afraid to say it. But it isn’t really up to Cooper to decide such things.

The Twins’ Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will probably be the ones to decide that.