MINNEAPOLIS — After paying his dues for 26 years as a pitching coach and pitching coordinator in the White Sox’ farm system, Curt Hasler has arrived in the big leagues.
He certainly belongs, Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. Hasler’s title is bullpen coach, but Cooper would be all for it if it were changed to assistant pitching coach.
‘‘He’s my assistant, for sure,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘I would have no problem if he had the role of assistant pitching coach. He assists me in everything I ask him to do.’’
Hasler and Cooper — who has spent 29 seasons in the organization, including 14 as the Sox’ pitching coach — are working together with the big club for the first time, but they have been in lockstep since Hasler was a pitcher for Class A South Bend in 1988. Cooper started his career as a pitching coach that season.
‘‘He was one of my right-hand guys as a coordinator, and now he’s one of my right-hand guys here,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘He’s a big help because I can give him assignments, things to do to help me, and I know they are getting done.’’
Hasler was the Sox’ minor-league pitching coordinator for the last six seasons after being a pitching coach at every minor-league level before that. When Bobby Thigpen wasn’t retained as bullpen coach after last season, Hasler changed roles.
‘‘He’s a big asset,’’ Cooper said.
While the relievers fall under Hasler’s watch during games, he and Cooper work with the entire pitching staff. Hasler said he’s not caught up in titles, and the most important thing to him is knowing Cooper trusts him. They watch video together, pore over scouting reports and bounce ideas about their pitchers off each other.
‘‘I’m the bullpen coach, but I think it’s more than that because I’m doing a lot of different things that he allows and trusts me to do,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘I believe it’s working great.’’
Delivery and communication are Hasler’s strengths, both men said.
‘‘He still challenges me when we’re watching our guys,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘He’ll say: ‘What do you see? You tell me what you see before I talk,’ which is great. ‘Do you see this? Why is he doing that?’ ’’
Cooper can come across as hard-nosed and will bear down on a pitcher, if necessary, Hasler said. But he also brings an upbeat, positive approach pitchers respond to.
‘‘Passion for the game, passion for getting guys better,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘He has an uncanny knack to speak positive all the time. And I’m learning that, too. He has the ability to say, ‘You didn’t do well,’ in a positive way. That rubs off on people around here.’’
Cooper and Hasler have faced unusual challenges with the Sox’ staff during this rebuilding season. Chris Sale was traded, Jose Quintana has struggled and Miguel Gonzalez, Dylan Covey and Carlos Rodon have been hurt. Meanwhile, talented prospects such as Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, Carson Fulmer and Zack Burdi are moments away from being under their wing.
‘‘It is an exciting time,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘It’s a new time for the White Sox, and I’m enjoying the time we’re having. We’re just doing the day-by-day stuff and looking forward to what’s next.’’
NOTE: The Sox put center fielder Leury Garcia on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday, with a sprained finger in his left hand. Garcia has appeared in one game since he injured the hand June 10 in Cleveland.
A corresponding move will be made before the Sox open a three-game series Tuesday in Minnesota.
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