Chicago White Sox: Don Cooper

Cooper back, blasts ump decision in SF

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
7:53
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Pitching coach Don Cooper is back and as feisty as ever.

After missing most of the past three weeks because of vertigo related to an inner-ear infection, Cooper was in the clubhouse Friday and fighting mad about an on-field ruling during the team's game in San Francisco.

Cooper initially unleashed his venom verbally, at the television screen, after Tyler Flowers was ruled to have blocked the plate during Wednesday's game. Flowers easily tagged out Gregor Blanco at home, but upon replay review, the call was changed, and the run was allowed to score. On a similar play one night earlier, with Giants catcher Buster Posey at the plate, the call was not reversed, and the White Sox did not get a run.

"We got f---ed in San Francisco," Cooper said. "[Pitcher Jose Quintana] found another way to get f---ed. That rule has got to be changed. It's ridiculous. The whole thing about getting replay is to get the play right. They had the f---ing thing right. He's out by 10 feet. That's going to be tweaked I'm sure, but that doesn’t stop us.

"They took a game from us as a team, and they f---ed our pitcher. I'm not in favor of either one of those things. They need to figure that s--- out."

Clearly Cooper is back and ready to do all he can for the White Sox.

"I thought I could be here earlier, but again, I couldn't," he said. "I knew the first day that I'm just not up to doing the whole job. But going to therapy and doing a whole bunch of stuff, I actually feel a whole lot better. I'm not 100 percent, but the doctor said I could come and be here, and I can go to work.

"My balance is much better. My equilibrium is much better. Dizziness is much better. I've been getting lots of letters and/or phone calls from people and fans that have had and deal with this. I appreciate everybody's concern. And I'm back."

Manager Robin Ventura was appreciative of having his pitching coach on the bench again.

"He does feel better, and he's talking a lot, so that's good," Ventura said. "You have a guy who's not feeling good, and it's frustrating for him, I know. We like having him here, so it's just 'take it as it goes,' but I'm glad to have him back, and I know he's excited to be here. We'll see how it goes."

Homecoming 'different' for Buehrle

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
7:44
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Still just a good ol’ boy from Missouri, Mark Buehrle hopes there won't be a fuss for his return to the U.S. Cellular Field mound on Saturday, but he is prepared for anything.

Buehrle will pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays opposite Chicago White Sox starter John Danks in his first outing at his former ballpark since he left before the 2012 season when he signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Marlins.

[+] EnlargeMark Buehrle
AP Photo/Kathy WillensMark Buehrle helped the White Sox win a World Series in 2005, but on Saturday he'll return to U.S. Cellular Field for his first outing as an opponent since leaving in 2012.
"I'm sure it will be different," said Buehrle, who was traded to Toronto after one year in Miami. "I'm going to try not to make it too different for myself and go out there and treat it as any other game, but I'm sure there's going to be some emotions, just different feelings pitching, getting on the mound the first time in a couple of years. I'm just going to try to go out there and get outs."

Buehrle and Danks have sent text messages back and forth in recent days agreeing that it would have really been mano a mano if it was a National League game where each of them could also come to the plate. As it is, they will make the best of it.

"I think really the only difference will be the lead up to the game," Danks said. "Me and him have sent texts and talked trash. I'm answering questions about it. But truly deep down I think tomorrow when we get to the field it will just be another typical game."

In the early going, it wouldn't be a surprise if it was Buehrle who got the biggest cheers, but as the game gets going that figures to change.

"It's nice to come back where you played for so long and hopefully get cheered. I don't know, I haven't pitched here," Buehrle said. "I remember Frank [Thomas] got cheered, his first [at-bat]. He hit two home runs and started getting booed. If I pitch too good I might get booed walking off the mound, I don't know."

In some sense, Saturday's matchup could be a statement game for Buehrle if he wanted to look at it that way. After all, Buehrle's contract requests were not met and he departed, signing with the Marlins for four years and $58 million. The team met Danks' contract terms weeks later, signing him to a five-year, $65 million contract.

"Obviously when I didn’t sign back and they gave him that deal, obviously it came to the point they had money to spend and wanted to spend it on a younger guy," Buehrle said. "I'm not bitter. I'd have loved to spend my whole career here and still be here to this day, but it's part of the game and it happened."

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Cooper to miss series at Seattle

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
1:59
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who has been suffering from the dizzying effects of vertigo for the past two weeks, will miss at least the upcoming series at Seattle.

Cooper was around the team for this past weekend’s series against the Minnesota Twins, but left the ballpark before Monday’s game against the Texas Rangers and hasn’t been back.

“He’s off the flight today,” manager Robin Ventura said. “I would say he’s out of the Seattle series. He’s just not feeling any better. It wouldn’t do him any good to get him on a plane. The doctors have basically said ‘Don’t fly. That would be the worst thing you could do right now.’ Just be here, get some treatment and figure out what’s going on.”

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Danks rocked, makes no excuses

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
11:00
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- First it was the bullpen, now it is the rotation in a humbling three-day span that saw the Chicago White Sox get crushed twice.

As it turned out, Monday’s torrential rains were the highlight. That was bookended by an avalanche Sunday when the Minnesota Twins scored 16 runs and another Tuesday when the Texas Rangers rolled to a 16-0 victory.

[+] EnlargeJohn Danks
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images"... Tonight I felt really good about everything in the bullpen and I just got my ass kicked," John Danks said after Tuesday's loss.
Manager Robin Ventura hasn’t even sorted out the bullpen from Sunday’s mess and now he has a suddenly adrift John Danks on his hands.

Danks was lit up for nine runs on eight hits (four of which were home runs) and five walks over 4 2/3 innings. Robinson Chirinos was responsible for two of the four homers.

Danks has now given up seven, four, four and nine earned runs, in that order, over his past four starts. He has a 10.29 ERA in that stretch and no longer looks like the pitcher who has put it all back together two years removed from shoulder surgery.

The left-hander said that to list the issues that have plagued him of late would take too long, but he did emphasize that he has no issues physically.

“I felt great,” Danks said. “It’s a shame to go out there and get your butt kicked on a night that you feel so good. It doesn’t happen every time out when you feel great, and tonight I felt really good about everything in the bullpen and I just got my ass kicked.”

Since the shoulder surgery, Danks has lost a tick on his fastball, so when his pinpoint control isn’t there, especially on his changeup, trouble typically ensues.

“For him, he has to be able to locate, and if he's not locating, he gets more in the middle of the zone,” Ventura said. “His changeup is really good when he's going fastball in and he can spot that changeup lower in the zone and get guys swinging through it.”

Danks is now at the 140-inning mark, a place he hasn’t been since 2011. But he isn’t claiming any type of fatigue.

“It’s not [an issue]; I felt good,” he said. “For the most part, I felt like I was able to make the ball do whatever I wanted, throw it where I wanted to. Obviously, there were a few mistakes that got hit hard. Looking at some of the pitches that were hit, they were actually thrown where I wanted to, or the ball did what I wanted it to. They just hit it. It’s baseball. That’s the way it goes.”

Pitching coach Don Cooper has been struggling with vertigo the past two weeks and has missed almost every game in that span, but Danks wasn’t using that as an excuse either.

“We love Coop, we love having him around, but him and [acting pitching coach Bobby Thigpen] are in on every meeting,” Danks said. “Thiggy is here, he’s kind of second to Coop. He knows what we’ve worked on and has been out there for every bullpen I’ve thrown. He’s been there for every scouting report meeting we’ve had. Yeah, Coop not being here is not the reason why I sucked tonight.”

Coach Cooper back from vertigo bout

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
7:12
PM CT
By Sahadev Sharma
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper returned to the bench Friday after 11 games away because of vertigo.

“I’m feeling better than I did, that’s for sure,” Cooper said. “I’m not right, but I feel up to being here. I never had this before, vertigo, it’s no fun. Given the choice, I think I might go for the diverticulitis over the vertigo, especially with the first three days of the symptoms. You feel seasick, carsick, and you are not moving anywhere. I’m just sitting.”

Cooper suffered a bout of diverticulitis last season that caused him to miss three games. While Cooper said he was texting advice to coaches while out last season, this time he just enjoyed the games on TV, saying watching them was the highlight of his day. Cooper said bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen, who took over for Cooper in his absence, did a great job as the team had a nice 5-2 road trip.

“You might accuse us of a lot of things, but it’s not for a lack of effort, fight, competing,” Cooper said. “I see that happening. You get a little different perspective on TV. So there’s a lot to be happy about with our team and players.”

Cooper said he started feeling off after the July 19 home game against the Houston Astros, continually veering to the left when walking. When he woke up the next morning, a Sunday, he said his whole world started spinning and he had no idea what was wrong.

“All I knew is I felt horrible,” Cooper said. “I felt sick. Throwing up violently and spinning for three days. What I thought then was I think, I said man, I would rather have diverticulitis than this. I could go with a bad stomach. This stuff, I can’t function. It’s unmanageable. Then your mind starts to go to other places a little bit. Is it something else?”

Cooper said he knows health and family are the most important things in life, but he also started to feel guilty that he wasn’t able to do his job. Regardless, Cooper was happy to be back and glad he has people around him who could help him in his time of need.

“We went and checked everything out, it’s not life-threatening,” Cooper said. “It’s something you got to deal with. Right now, I’m dealing with what I got. I’m dealing with the best I got right now and hopefully that’s going to head to better and better.”

Series preview: Twins at White Sox

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
4:21
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- They say the major leagues is extremely difficult, but Minnesota Twins starter Logan Darnell must think it’s downright unforgiving at this point.

The Twins’ left-hander will make his second career start (third appearance) Friday at U.S. Cellular Field and will have to face off against Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale for a second consecutive time.

The first meeting went predictably enough: Sale struck out 12 over eight scoreless innings, while Darnell gave up seven runs on 11 hits over five innings in his debut. Darnell, a Tennessee native, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Twins in 2010.

Sale has two months remaining in his Cy Young award push. He will enter Friday night’s game at U.S. Cellular Field with a 10-1 record and a 1.88 ERA. Sale is one of just three starters in baseball with a sub-2.00 ERA, along with the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (1.71) and the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright (1.92).

Sale is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA over his last seven starts and is 5-1 with a 1.33 ERA and 7-0 strikeouts over his last eight starts at home.

The lefty is the first White Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle in the 20005 championship season to open a season 10-1 for the White Sox. In addition to leading the American League in ERA and win percentage (.909), he also leads in WHIP (0.86) and opponents’ batting average (.194).

HEAD TO HEAD


The White Sox’s Tyler Flowers, Conor Gillaspie, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez all had two hits against Darnell last Saturday. … After just seven career starts, the Twins’ Yohan Pino has already found a team he matched up well against in the White Sox. Pino has given up a combined four runs over 13 innings in two starts against the White Sox, and the Twins won both games. … Twins starter Kyle Gibson has not faced the White Sox this season, but last season he held them to three runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings of an eventual Minnesota victory. … Sale is 2-0 in two starts against the Twins this year, posting a 1.76 ERA. … In two appearances against the Twins this season (one start, one in relief) White Sox starter Scott Carroll has given up just one run and six hits over 9 2/3 innings. … The Twins’ Josh Willingham is 9-for-18 with three home runs in his career against White Sox starter Jose Quintana, but Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe are a combined 2-for-16 (.125) against the lefty.

NOTES


Jose Abreu has a 20-game hitting streak and has a hit in 38 of his last 39 games. Over that 39-game stretch, he has a .365 batting average (57-for-156), a .415 on-base percentage, 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 32 RBIs. … When Konerko reached the 4,000 total bases mark Thursday at Detroit, he became the 83rd player in major league history to accomplish the feat. … Abreu and Adam Eaton are both coming off a game when they reached base in all five trips to the plate. Eaton is batting a robust .441 (15-for-34) during a modest seven-game hitting streak. … White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper rejoined the team Friday after missing the road trip because he had vertigo. … Ronald Belisario might have flamed out in his brief stint as closer, but he does have 26 scoreless appearances this season. … Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki was signed to a two-year contract extension Thursday for $12 million, with a vesting option for 2017. … The Twins are 4-9 since the start of the second half, while the White Sox are 8-5.

PITCHING MATCHUPS


Friday: White Sox LHP Chris Sale (10-1, 1.88 ERA) vs. Twins LHP Logan Darnell (0-1, 7.88), 7:10 p.m. CST
Saturday: White Sox RHP Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.29) vs. Twins RHP Yohan Pino (1-3, 4.38), 6:10 p.m. CST
Sunday: White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (6-7, 3.15) vs. Twins RHP Kyle Gibson (9-8, 3.94), 1:10 p.m. CST

Cooper to miss start of road trip

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
3:16
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Pitching coach Don Cooper will not be with the White Sox when they open a seven-game road trip at Minnesota on Thursday.

Cooper has been away from the team since Monday with vertigo, but is believed to be at home resting after a stay in the hospital.

Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen has been serving as pitching coach in Cooper’s absence.

“He’s not feeling that much better so we don’t have him going on the flight today,” manager Robin Ventura said. “How much longer, I don’t know. I do know he’s not feeling all that great so he won’t be flying with us.”

Vertigo has Thigpen on in relief of Cooper

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
8:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper missed his second consecutive game Monday and has been diagnosed with vertigo.

“He has vertigo so it’s possible he won’t be here for a few days,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He had it yesterday. He's not feeling too good. I talked to him today. I’ve never had it but by listening to him, it doesn’t sound very good.”

Vertigo, which is marked by dizziness and an off-center sense of balance, also recently struck San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti. On Thursday, the Giants’ team plane was even diverted to Las Vegas en route to Miami so Righetti could depart and be examined at a hospital. He has since been released.

“We were just talking about Dave Righetti the other day so it might be psychosomatic,” Ventura said with a chuckle. “I don’t know how you get it.”

Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen moved into the pitching-coach role for a second day, while Mark Salas took over as bullpen coach.

Extra Bases: Faith has worked for Sox

June, 10, 2014
Jun 10
8:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Sometimes a little faith goes a long way.

The Chicago White Sox rescued Hector Noesi off the waiver-wire scrap heap, moved him from reliever into a rotation spot and presto, and now have an effective starting pitcher on their hands.

The opportunity isn’t lost on Noesi, who already has been traded by the Seattle Mariners and designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers this season. The right-hander feels like every start is an opportunity to show his appreciation.

SportsNation

The White Sox arent even a .500 team right now at 32-33, but have managed a 12-8 record in one-run games. What has been the biggest key to their advantage in those games?

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Discuss (Total votes: 323)

“Sometimes it's about trust, you know,” Noesi said after winning his second consecutive decision Monday to improve to 2-4. “Like, I come here and this team gives me the opportunity really fast. So I try to appreciate everything and do my work. Sometime it's about, they believe in me that I have something good, so I try to show them that I can do this.”

When last seen in a different uniform, Noesi was giving up seven runs in an inning of relief for the Rangers. And that outing was against the White Sox no less.

But instead of seeing what Noesi couldn’t do, the White Sox saw potential. Noesi has been designated, the White Sox claimed him and pitching coach Don Cooper has worked with him on some delivery tweaks. Noesi was given a chance to slowly stretch himself out to 100 pitches, and a new starter was born.

This move wasn’t out of nowhere, though. General manager Rick Hahn said he envisioned Noesi as a starter when the pitcher was claimed, but nobody thought it was going to happen this fast.

“He’s giving us a chance to win,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He has been great. The changeup for him has really been a factor that has got him to this point. He’s getting a better feel for it because the more he pitches he’s able to throw it more often in different counts, hitters counts, and get through it.”

Read all about it: Here is the Rapid Reaction from the White Sox’s 6-5 victory over the Tigers in the opener of a four-game series.

Keep an eye on this: John Danks is rolling now with a 1.21 ERA over his past three starts, an impressive run that started when he moved toward the third-base side of the pitching rubber. He pitches Tuesday against the Tigers.

Question of the day: How much weight does the current series against the first-place Detroit Tigers carry moving forward?

Chris Sale eyeing rehabilitation start date

May, 10, 2014
May 10
6:43
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Sounding as chipper as he has been since going on the disabled list in April, Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale said he is ready for the next step of his rehab process, which is expected to be a minor league rehabilitation start.

The left-hander threw a four-inning simulated game at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday, closing the session at full speed. There were no issues with the strained flexor muscle in his pitching arm.

"I threw everything," Sale said. "The first inning was all fastballs, changeups; the next two were everything in all locations; and the last one was all fastballs, but as hard as I could go. [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] said, 'I don’t want you throwing anything other than fastballs, but I want you at max effort.'"

The Cy Young Award candidate hasn’t pitched since throwing 127 pitches on April 17 in the White Sox’s hard-luck loss to the Boston Red Sox. The team said soon after the outing that his next start would be skipped, and shortly after, they announced the DL stint.

Unable to recover in a timely fashion after working overtime against the Red Sox, Sale feared the worst.

"I was very concerned up until I got an MRI done," the wiry power pitcher said. "Since the MRI, there’s really been zero concern on my end just because I know that it’s all muscular.

"I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life, but there is nothing wrong with ligaments, tendons, nothing like that, so there was never a doubt in my mind. But it was a little slower [recovery] process than I anticipated."

Sale has been eligible to come off the disabled list since May 3, and the White Sox have not hidden the fact they are being extremely cautious with his recovery. Sale would gladly pitch tomorrow if the White Sox would let him, but he understands the need to be careful.

"You’d rather take the time now and be able to get it over with and done with than have it linger," he said. "It’s almost like getting your car fixed. Do you want to leave it in the shop for a few more days and have it done and ready to go, or do you want to have to take it back once a month or every couple of weeks and have that linger around? So I think when we’re done with this we’ll be ready to go."

While the White Sox have not set a target date for his return to a major league mound, the speculation has already started. Sale could have a rehab start Thursday and be back for the May 19-21 series at the Kansas City Royals. If he needs two rehab starts, it’s possible he could return for the May 25 home game against the New York Yankees.

White Sox bench coach Mark Parent, who took over the managing duties Saturday while Robin Ventura attended his daughter’s college graduation, was asked if the Yankees series was a target.

"Yeah, that’s the one he’s looking at right now," Parent said.

Sale throws again, still no timetable

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
8:12
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chris Sale played a light game of catch for the second consecutive day Monday as the Chicago White Sox left-hander moves forward from a flexor-muscle strain, but his chances of returning to the mound Saturday seem to be diminishing.

Sale is eligible to come off the disabled list when the White Sox travel to Cleveland this weekend, but until he has a throwing session that is much closer to full speed, he isn’t expected to pitch in a big league game.

And if he isn’t back by this weekend, he will likely have to go to the minor leagues for an injury-rehab outing.

"He’s playing catch, he’s loosening up, feeling better each day," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "We don’t really have a timetable for a return."

Sale skipped a start in each of the past two seasons because of arm soreness. But while those occurrences happened in May, this one is taking place in April. And Sale didn’t have to go to the DL in either of the past two seasons.

"Listen, the last few years he’s had something and we shut him down. Why? Because we wanted to take care of him, and that’s what we’re doing right now," Cooper said. "When he’s able to go, he’ll be out there and really not one second before."

Even though this injury required a DL stint, manager Robin Ventura said the level of caution has been the same as it was in both 2012 and 2013.

"He’s feeling better and you continue to monitor it," Ventura said. "He’s the one that will let you know when he’s feeling good enough. He’ll know when he’s ready."

Right-handed starter Felipe Paulino, who has been on the disabled list since April 19 with right rotator-cuff inflammation, said he is set to go on a minor league rehab assignment this weekend.

Stock Watch: Ramirez in a better place

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
2:52
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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[+] EnlargeAlexei Ramirez
Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY SportsAlexei Ramirez is leading the AL with a .420 batting average.

RISING

1. Alexei Ramirez, SS: The veteran was geared up for a big offensive season last year when his world came crashing down during spring training following the death of his father-in-law. Looking as if he has returned to a comfort zone, Ramirez has started 2014 in impressive fashion with a hit in every game so far, capped by the game-ending home run Sunday. Ramirez leads the American League with a .420 batting average, but more impressive is his league-leading 1.143 OPS. With hits in the next two games, Ramirez will tie Frank Thomas' franchise record for longest hitting streak to start a season.

2. Marcus Semien, 2B: The rookie isn’t necessarily dominating, but he has shown there is hope for a bright future if the White Sox decide to part ways with Gordon Beckham either this year or next. Sure there was Semien’s go-ahead home run in Sunday’s game, but his ability to extend at-bats has helped a new look offense. With 4.53 pitches seen per plate appearance, Semien is fifth in the AL in that category, and a big reason why the White Sox have been able to get into opponents’ bullpens so early this season.

3. Daniel Webb, RHP: In the barren wasteland that has been the White Sox’s bullpen, the rookie has been an oasis. He allowed an inherited runner to score in his more previous outing, but he leads the bullpen with 7 1/3 innings pitched and has recorded a 2.45 ERA in the process. He remains a closer possibility down the road, but the White Sox still hope veteran Matt Lindstrom will figure out the high-pressure role.

[+] EnlargeLindstrom
Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesMatt Lindstrom has a 5.20 ERA in a struggling Sox bullpen.

FALLING

1. Matt Lindstrom, RHP: A number of pitchers are struggling in the bullpen, but as the closer Lindstrom has been the face of the problems. His blown save in Sunday’s eventual victory was only a part of what has gone wrong. Lindstrom has a 5.40 ERA so far, while his 2.000 WHIP and his 1.000 strikeout-to-walk ratio are the worst they have been at any point of his career.

2. Felipe Paulino RHP:
When Paulino was signed this winter for a guaranteed $1.75 million, it looked like the classic reclamation project for pitching coach Don Cooper. So far, that project has yet to take hold as Paulino has posted a 7.98 ERA in three starts and has a 2.11 WHIP. His walks (nine) and his earned runs (13) lead the White Sox, and it has been clear that one has led to the other. The White Sox aren't ready to end this experiment just yet, but a long-man bullpen role could be next if the problems continue.

3. Scott Downs, LHP: In five outings so far, Downs has failed to record an out in three of them. He has a staff high 16.20 ERA and has allowed four walks in 1 2/3 innings. What to do? Cooper and manager Robin Ventura will continue to ease Downs through his early-season woes. The team certainly won’t quit on a guy that is making a guaranteed $4 million this season.

Sale gets the opener ... obviously

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
3:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Like the result from a study group formed to determine the color of the sky, or data showing how this is one of the coldest Chicago winters on record, the Chicago White Sox also went ahead Monday and stated the obvious.

[+] EnlargeChris Sale
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastChris Sale will make his second straight Opening Day start for the White Sox.
Chris Sale will be the team’s Opening Day starter for the second consecutive season, manager Robin Ventura told reporters in Arizona. Sale was on the mound Monday in Phoenix against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pitching coach Don Cooper had already suggested that Sale would get the opener, but he was reluctant to go on the record, until the manager talked about it first.

“Just what he’s done in the past and what you expect him to do, he’s the logical choice,” Ventura told reporters. “He deserves it.”

After today, Sale’s spring schedule will have him pitch Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, then March 20 in a minor league game (the White Sox don’t have a Cactus League game that day), and March 25 against the Colorado Rockies. He will then get an extra fifth day of rest before pitching on Opening Day, March 31 at home against the Minnesota Twins.

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Sox ace Sale stumbles in second start

March, 5, 2014
Mar 5
4:53
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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There must be something in the air that is getting to ace left-handers who train at Camelback Ranch.

First the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw was struggling at the Glendale, Ariz., facility, and now the Chicago White Sox's Chris Sale has stumbled in his second start Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.

The White Sox's expected Opening Day starter lasted just 2 2/3 innings, the same as his spring debut last week. But while he delivered a scoreless outing in his Cactus League debut, he gave up six runs on six hits against the Padres, including a home run by Nick Hundley.

Nobody seems too worried that Kershaw won't come around, and the same could be said for Sale, who was mixing in sliders for the first time. He threw just one in his first start, relying on fastballs and changeups in that outing.

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Rotation march more than left-right-left

March, 5, 2014
Mar 5
2:53
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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One trip through the rotation during Cactus league play and the Chicago White Sox revealed something about how they plan to set up their starting staff for the upcoming season.

With three left-handers and a pair of wild-card right-handers, the White Sox were always going to have to be creative when lining up their starters once April arrives.

[+] EnlargeJose Quintana
AP Photo/Paul SancyaThe White Sox will try to space out innings-eaters Jose Quintana and Chris Sale in the rotation to best preserve the bullpen.
The clear-cut top three of the pitching staff is Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks. But since all three pitch from the left side, lining them up in order isn't ideal because it allows opponents to settle into a right-handed hitting lineup for multiple days.

But while talking to pitching coach Don Cooper this past week, he had a bigger concern when it comes to the order of the starters.

While acknowledging that breaking up the left-handers has been given consideration, his bigger focus is how to line up the rotation in order to best preserve the bullpen.

After getting at least 200 innings from Sale and Quintana last season, Cooper knows who his most dependable arms are. Pitching them back-to-back would reduce wear and tear on the relievers for consecutive days, but Cooper believes there is a better way of handling the situation.

The veteran pitching coach would rather separate his most dependable starters to fluctuate the potential heavy work days of the relievers.

While the White Sox have not committed to any rotation order, the first five Cactus League games had Sale, Danks, Felipe Paulino, Quintana and Erik Johnson pitching in that order. By separating Sale and Quintana, while also separating the unknowns in Paulino and Johnson, the bullpen will ideally have a light day followed by a potential heavy work day.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.12 158 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAC. Gillaspie .309
HRJ. Abreu 32
RBIJ. Abreu 90
RJ. Abreu 65
OPSJ. Abreu .956
ERAC. Sale 2.12
SOC. Sale 158