Cooper hopes stint with Sox never ends

Cooper hopes stint with Sox never ends

CHICAGO -- Don Cooper has worked 28 seasons within the White Sox organization and has been the team's big league pitching coach since July 22, 2002.

If Cooper has his way, he'll be serving in this important capacity for many years to come and well beyond the end of his present contract after the 2016 season.

"Listen, I'm going to be here until they kick me out or, God forbid, health," Cooper said Wednesday. "But I'm feeling good, and I love my job.

"I've always thought my job is, right or wrong, I've thought it's the most important job in the organization as far as I'm concerned. That's how I approach it. It doesn't mean we always are dominant or go out and win. That's the way I come to the ballpark every day.

"I don't know how other guys think. I'm just telling you what I do and that's been from Day 1 and that will be until Day Final."

White Sox pitching entered Wednesday's series finale against the Red Sox with a 3.98 ERA, ranking them 19th overall in baseball. The team ERA checks in at 4.16 since the All-Star break.

There have been some ups and downs for the White Sox hurlers, topped by Chris Sale's Cy Young caliber season, the bullpen re-establishing itself and rookie Carlos Rodon's gradual development. Jeff Samardzija, the team's big offseason addition on the mound, has been inconsistent this season -- especially in August. But Cooper likes his staff overall.

"I've always liked my staffs," Cooper said. "And I can't think of a guy on the staff I want to get rid of him today. I'll stick with them through thick and thin. The only way I'll leave them is if they show me they have no confidence and they don't believe."

Cooper was surprised the White Sox didn't play better baseball early and "didn't play good baseball for a long time," seeing spurts of it but not on a consistent basis. He also stressed that this 2015 White Sox squad still has a reason to believe in its postseason hopes. So focus stays on this season for Cooper, until there's an X next to the team's name -- or if it pulls off a late postseason surprise.

"I've been here a long time. I'm lucky and proud to be doing what I'm doing, and I plan on doing it for a long time," Cooper said. "I've had the opportunity and they've given me the opportunity to pursue my passion, which is pitching, which is Chicago White Sox pitching."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.