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Don Cooper: We know who's pitching the ninth inning now

Ask White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper how he learned his pitching staff now includes Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson, and he’ll tell you about his trip to the bathroom last night.

That’s the scenario he described to Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley on 670 The Score on Tuesday morning.

“I had to go to the bathroom at 3 a.m.,” Cooper said. “I checked my phone and I got a handful of messages. You know I heard things that we might be able to do this or get that on some of the shows I was watching. But I went to bed and I found out at 3 a.m. and I was excited and I had trouble going back to bed.”

Robertson is the second reliever the White Sox have added this offseason, joining Zach Duke, who signed last month.

Six different pitchers recorded saves for the White Sox in 2014, and Cooper said the team won’t have to worry about who is going to finish games moving forward.

“David is a proven closer that closed and got to fill in some big shoes,” Cooper said of the former Yankee. “You talk about Chicago tough, but New York tough is pretty tough, too. And he’s been through it. He’s not a kid and it’s just a solid, solid acquisition when you can say we know who’s pitching the ninth.

“That was a big deal for us. Now (Jake) Petricka and (Zach) Putnam, (Daniel) Webb and (Eric) Surkamp and the other guys, well OK, they’ll go back to where they probably should be. We weren’t planning on Petricka and Putnam getting save opportunities last year. But they all pitched in greater situations than we dreamed they would last year and now we’re hoping that experience will really pay off for them. The bullpen is starting to tighten up and get better. That was a bugaboo for us.”

Cooper said the addition of the two pitchers would give the club more flexibility in how to use super-prospect Carlos Rodon, a left-handed starter.

Cooper noted that both Mark Buehrle and Chris Sale started their careers as relievers, and these moves give the Sox that option with Rodon.

“Carlos Rodon will be a starter at some time for the Chicago White Sox,” Cooper said. “He wasn’t drafted third in all of baseball to be a reliever. But we have not finalized any discussions about what he’s gonna be doing next year if he’s in the big leagues for us. Now that’s gonna be something we’ll get to. But there’s nothing set in stone for any role.

“We’re not forced to start him. That’ll all be determined. If he’s starting great, if he’s in the bullpen, then heck, we got another good lefty out there, too.”