CHICAGO -- Don Cooper was asked prior to Saturday's game with the Twins about being considered one of Major League Baseball's best pitching coaches. He was asked about his ability to turn good pitchers into great ones and guys who have struggled into competitive forces.
Instead of talking about the pitching staff's accomplishments under his guidance, Cooper focused on the empty feeling brought about by the struggles of the White Sox overall.
"It's hard to feel smart right now," Cooper said. "When we're in the midst of what we're going through, I certainly don't walk home saying 'Boy, I feel fantastic about how things are going.' But we're keeping our eyes focused on the things we need to do individually.
"Listen, I don't rank myself. I want to be the best coach the White Sox have. That's all, the best pitching coach the White Sox have. I don't sit and compare. I don't sit there and look at this or that in other organizations.
"You know you're doing a good job if you keep getting contracts, and I keep getting contracts," Cooper said. "I will say this: It's probably the most difficult time that I can remember in the White Sox organization in 27 years. That being said, I still enjoy, look forward to, coming to the park to do our jobs, my job as the pitching coach and the jobs of the pitchers and the challenges we're throwing at them to get better."
Cooper gave credit to the pitchers themselves for what they have accomplished and proceeded to talk about the staff's young arms: Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Hector Santiago, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Friday starter Charlie Leesman and Saturday starter Andre Rienzo. He gave a brief look into next year's rotation, saying that if the season ended Saturday, four starters would be set, and there would be competition for the fifth spot that would probably include Rienzo and Erik Johnson.
Of course, that formula could change if Santiago moves back into a relief role.
"That's nice to know that we've got some pitching coming along if we need it," Cooper said. "But heck, our starters are kind of locked in pretty good."
Lindstrom, vet presence in 'pen, hopes to stay with Sox
CHICAGO -- Despite allowing six runs on nine hits over his last 4 2/3 innings, Matt Lindstrom has served as a steadying force for the 2013 White Sox bullpen.
Lindstrom ranks first in the American League with his 57 appearances and first with the 13 double plays he has induced, a number he's accrued even with the White Sox having a poor defensive season. Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain's departures via trade make Lindstrom the senior member of a talented relief crew and could work in Lindstrom's favor where his $4 million option for 2014 is concerned.
The much talked about White Sox 2014 reshape -- as opposed to a full rebuild -- is based on the South Siders' strong pitching. Lindstrom appreciates that pitching directed the thought process, and seems to appreciate being the old man in relief at just 33.
"It does seem strange a little bit," Lindstrom said. "But we have a lot of mature guys down there for being 24 or 25 years old. They are showing a lot of poise, and they don't really seem like youngsters or anything like that. It's kind of nice to talk with those guys and maybe give them a little bit of knowledge that I've gained from other teams and other players that I've played with.
"We have a good group down there, so I would love to come back here next year. We've heard that with these guys saying that our pitching is the most important thing, and that's just the way it is in the game today. We are just right there. We just need a break or two. It seems like that everything that can happen wrong has gone wrong for us."
As a free agent prior to this season, Lindstrom explained that he had targeted the White Sox as a team he wanted to join. This dismal '13 campaign now serves as another reason why Lindstrom hopes his option gets picked up, and he can stay with the White Sox.
"Yeah, absolutely, and more so to prove to White Sox fans that this year is kind of a fluke," Lindstrom said. "We didn't think that this was going to be the way this team was going to be this year. We had loftier expectations than what's happened this year, including myself. I came over as a free agent and wanted to pitch for this club. I would love to come back here next year and totally turn things around a little bit.
"Our team has lost a lot of veteran presence in Jake [Peavy] and Matt, and we miss them. At the same time, you see that's how organizations are starting to improve. The Cardinals, Pirates -- all these guys, home-grown talent, trades with other teams having really good players. You have to have a mix of a little bit of both."
Viciedo a late scratch from Saturday's lineup
CHICAGO -- For the second time in three games, Dayan Viciedo was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a sore left thumb.
Viciedo was replaced Saturday by Blake Tekotte, who hit his first career home run in Friday's night game. Viciedo hurt his thumb diving for Robinson Cano's first-inning single Monday and left in the bottom of the inning. He missed Tuesday's game, was scratched again in Friday's day game and finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the second contest.
"Batting, hitting wise, it doesn't bother me that much," said Viciedo through translator and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez, speaking in between games on Friday. "In fact, I feel fine. It's when I go to catch a ball, gripping the glove, there's some pain there. Just getting better."
Danks brothers in starting lineup for first time together
CHICAGO -- Jordan and John Danks have been in the same starting lineup during Spring Training and have even played in the same game at the big league level. But the younger Danks' echoed his brother John's thoughts Friday that it was a great experience to start together for the first time at the Major League level in Game 1 of Friday's doubleheader.
"I felt like, in a sense, we had already done so," said Jordan of teaming up with John. "But just to see both of our names in the lineup for the first time was pretty cool."
Jordan said that the Danks brothers were going to get the lineup card from Friday's first game. White Sox clubhouse manager Vince Fresso also presented the Danks family with three baseballs, representing each of the two brothers and their father.
"That will be real cool, especially for my dad," Jordan said.
Third to first
• Manager Robin Ventura has enjoyed the expected energy brought by Leesman and Rienzo during their Major League debuts.
"You get called up to the big leagues for the first time, and it's exciting. Those are things you're glad it's like that, rather than the other way around," Ventura said. "That's something you like to see. You don't want a guy coming up here that isn't really excited to be here.
"It is different that you have that element to it at the end of the year. It's nice to see."
• Eighty-seven of the White Sox's 114 games have been decided by three runs or fewer. They are 16-26 in one-run games, 10-14 in two-run games, 6-12 in extra innings and 12-33 against the AL Central.