Cooper recovering from surgery, rooting for Nieves

SHARE Cooper recovering from surgery, rooting for Nieves

BOSTON – White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper is recovering after having surgery Wednesday in Nashville for diverticulitis, a condition that hospitalized him twice during the season.

Cooper said he is doing well and expects to be hospitalized four-to-six days. Diverticulitis, which is known to be extremely painful, is inflammation that occurs in the large intestine or colon.

“Surgery went well,’’ Cooper said Thursday. “There’s some discomfort from them rooting around inside of me. I have a little nausea but today’s discomfort is a little less than yesterday.’’

Cooper, 57, said he will watch Game 2 of the World Series Thursday night and can’t help but root for Boston pitching coach Juan Nieves, the White Sox bullpen coach the last five seasons.

“I’m extremely happy for him,’’ Cooper said. “Going from being my right-hand guy to a pitching coach is a game-changer for him and his family. I’m very very happy for him but I have to be honest, I’m jealous that he’s in the playoffs and I’m not. You want to go to the playoffs and obviously we didn’t go there and now I see one of my best friends hanging out there. I’m pulling for him but there’s a pang of jealousy.’’

Nieves, the bullpen coach in Chicago for five years with Cooper, was never overly confident about landing a pitching coach job, but Cooper would assure him he’d get his shot. The Red Sox hired him a year ago.

“When [Boston manager] John Farrell called me I said, ‘He’s ready to go,’ ” Cooper said. “When the Red Sox were in Chicago I said, ‘How’s my boy working out?’ and he said, ‘You did good.’ I knew it was going to work out. He served his time, he worked it, he was great with me it was a matter of time.

“I’m just glad it happened in Boston. They’re going to make sure they get talent. Their guys aren’t chopped liver. They’re global. They go all over the place for talent and they have a talented pitching staff. If you have the horses you look good. If you have good pitchers you’re going to be a good pitching coach. If you have good players you’ll be a good manager.”

Cooper trusted Nieves and expanded his responsibilities over time.

“I’ll tell you one thing, working with Don was a pleasure because he gave me carte blanche,’’ Nieves said Tuesday. “I was able to work and he gave me all the responsibility. It was an open book. We talked about many things according to experience and what to do in situations. Everything from A to Z – delivery, game planning, how to attack hitters. I’m very grateful for all the experiences.’’

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