CHICAGO -- After missing the entire 10-game road trip while battling diverticulitis, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper returned to the dugout for Saturday's homestand opener against the Twins.
Cooper originally was hospitalized in Arlington, Va., when this problem arose on the Monday night before the first game in Washington, and then returned to Chicago to complete his recovery. He mentioned Saturday morning that he thought about getting a flight to Toronto this past Monday after seeing his doctor, but his wife, Ruby, overruled that particular idea.
"And she was probably right," said a smiling Cooper. "I just needed a couple of extra days to recover. I almost feel guilty talking about my problem. There are just so many other people who deal with much, much more than I dealt with.
"What it amounted to for me was a bad, bad, bad stomach ache for five days. It's not about if something is going to happen to you in your life. It's about when and you just deal with it and hopefully move on. I'm glad it wasn't more than what it was."
Although he didn't see any of the Washington games, Cooper was able to watch the remaining seven games on the road trip. He stayed in constant contact with bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen, who served as pitching coach in Cooper's absence, and texted some of the pitchers and catchers Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez during and after games.
He praised the last two starts from Jose Quintana, Jake Peavy's start last Sunday in Cleveland and the efforts by Dylan Axelrod and Chris Sale in Toronto, as well as his stellar bullpen. Cooper also had kind words for those who stood by him and reached out to him during the illness.
"It makes me realize how many nice friends I got that were calling, texting, e-mailing," Cooper said. "It makes me realize how much I miss being the coach, and I've come to the conclusion I want to be a Major League pitching coach as long as I'm physically able to do it. It also reminds me that my wife is special too because she came up and helped take care of me.
"My life is always better when she's around. Listen, it was a little bump in the road and I'm anxious to be back. Let's go at it."
Judging by the hugs and pats on the back he received Saturday in the clubhouse and on the field, the White Sox are happy to have Cooper back at work.
"We try to staff ourselves so that nobody's irreplaceable," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "That being said, Don's obviously very special. He's accomplished a lot and has a close relationship with his guys. It's good to be back at full force, at least from a coaching standpoint."
Danks, others see opportunity in Viciedo's absence
CHICAGO -- Jordan Danks finished 2013 Cactus League work with 12 hits in his last 20 at-bats after employing a wider base in his stance. He took that change to Triple-A Charlotte, where the left-handed-hitting, slick-fielding outfielder posted a .333 average with two homers and five RBIs before rejoining the White Sox on Wednesday in Toronto.
With Dayan Viciedo going to the disabled list on Saturday because of a strained left oblique, Danks might get to test his changed approach on a more regular basis.
"Last year, I knew my role was going to be the off-the-bench kind of guy and an occasional start here and there," said Danks, who credited his stance change with getting him back to the Majors. "But with Viciedo going down, I feel like there's going to be a lot more playing time. I'll kind of utilize the opportunity."
Danks started Saturday's contest in center, with Alejandro De Aza moving to left, where he is more comfortable defensively. Dewayne Wise and Blake Tekotte, who was called up to replace Viciedo, also can play center and will get playing time in Viciedo's absence.
"Just come out here and try to help this team win, do whatever I can and what they ask of me," Tekotte said. "Just play that role, whether it's sitting on the bench, coming off the bench for pinch-running or defense. I'll do whatever I can do."
"Obviously, we're a little left-handed now, which is a little bit ironic given some of the criticisms this past offseason," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "But we felt Blake, given his speed and his defensive ability, was a nice fit to give Robin and the coaches a few other options and a little different look. We'll consider reshuffling at some point if it's not the right mix."
Hahn waiting to see bigger sample size
CHICAGO -- The 3-7, three-city road trip completed by the White Sox was an especially rough one with the loss of second baseman Gordon Beckham and left fielder Dayan Viciedo to injury, not to mention pitching coach Don Cooper's absence because of illness.
On-field results were far from perfect but certainly haven't caused general manager Rick Hahn to begin worrying about his group just 17 games into the season.
"We're all a little disappointed by how the road trip went. I mean, certainly, we didn't expect to go 3-7 on it," Hahn said. "There were some positives in terms of we were in essentially every game.
"Most of the season we've played some very close games. And we showed some resiliency and some fight after starting off 0-5 on that trip and to fight back from there was good to see.
"A couple of breaks here and there, a couple of key hits or a little better execution, and it could have been a winning trip given how close the games were," Hahn said. "With just about 10 percent of the season played, I don't think you can draw any grand conclusions about where things sit right now."
When asked about tinkering with the roster, Hahn mentioned that injuries have already made it fairly easy to tinker.
"It certainly is a temptation to explore other options, but it's way too soon to avert from the plan except when forced to due to injury," Hahn said. "We'd rather get up to at least a 6-8 week sample before you start drawing any sort of long-term conclusions, whether it be the guys who have gotten off to fantastic starts or the guys who have struggled early."
Hahn appreciates dedication of Boston's law enforcement
CHICAGO -- As a Harvard Law school student, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spent three years in Boston. He knows the area well but doesn't think this week's tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings or the triumph in a city and country coming together in tracking down the two suspects was any more poignant for him than anyone else watching around the country.
"It's been mesmerizing to just about all of us. Certainly it was difficult to watch, difficult to digest and wrap your head around," Hahn said. "At the same time, it's nice now to sort of get to the point where you can show your appreciation for the bravery and the dedication of the civil service out there and the firefighters and the first responders and the police and the citizens of Boston. Hopefully, we can start getting back to a little normalcy here."
Third to first
• John Danks was scheduled to make another start Saturday in extended spring workouts in Arizona. Danks, who will be in Chicago on Sunday, has felt good between starts and has been able to throw all of his sides and do his exercises.
"He's doing better. His velocity is coming back," said Jordan Danks of his brother. "His confidence is still there and his velocity is coming back, so he should be ready to go."
Danks still would need an extended Minor League rehab stint before a return to the Majors is considered, and he's not yet at that point.
• White Sox manager Robin Ventura understood the decision to postpone Friday's series opener with the Twins because of the cold and windy conditions.
"It doesn't bother me that much. I don't have to hit in it," Ventura said. "The players have to go out there and do stuff. Sometimes it's just better to not do it because if it starts snowing and stuff like that, every once in a while it can get dangerous when it gets really cold."
• The White Sox played "Sweet Caroline" in the seventh inning of Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Twins to stand strong with Boston after this week's Marathon bombings.