Don Cooper managed the White Sox’s final game following Ozzie Guillen’s departure and signed a multi-year contract extension to remain Chicago’s pitching coach, but apparently Guillen and Cooper aren’t exactly on good terms.
Guillen, who just returned from a two-week vacation in Spain and will join the “Baseball Tonight” crew for World Series analysis, had plenty of harsh words after his longtime pitching coach suggested Guillen wasn’t pushing general manager Ken Williams to sign his coaching staff beyond 2011.
Here’s what Guillen told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times:
Cooper needs to look in the mirror. He didn’t back-stab me. I know who he is. He back-stabbed his fellow coaches, the guys he worked with for years. You got family? That’s fine. Everyone does. We all knew Coop was Kenny’s b****. Look, Coop is not a good coach; he’s a great coach. But Coop is Coop. He doesn’t worry about anyone; he worries about himself. I stuck up for my coaches like a m*****f*****.
Guillen feels that Cooper went behind his back to negotiate a contract extension when there was still some chance of Guillen remaining the White Sox’s manager. Here are some more Guillen gems:
Look, those guys didn’t want me. I didn’t leave them. They didn’t want me back, and I understand their point. But don’t tell me I left here. Since last year, this was about integrity, it was about loyalty, it was about do they want me here. Let me say it my way: The Sox were saying, “Yes, we want to f*** you, but we don’t want to marry you.”
And for what it’s worth, Guillen thinks the White Sox did well hiring Robin Ventura as his replacement, saying “they picked the right guy” and “I think they have a great man.”
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.