(CBS) As a sea of uncertainty continues to submerge the Chicago White Sox, one thing is certain: pitching coach/interim manager Don Cooper isn’t going anywhere.
After the release of manager Ozzie Guillen on Monday, the White Sox organization announced Cooper signed a four-year contract extension Tuesday afternoon to remain with the team. With the departure of bench coach Joey Cora, Cooper will also resume the role of interim manager for the remaining two games of the 2011 season.
“I felt good really briefly about that,” Cooper said of his extension. “I’ve been here for 25 years and I’m a blessed guy that has the opportunity for that to continue. I think that makes it official: I’m going to be here for awhile.”
As the White Sox quest for a new manager continues, Cooper said pitching is in his blood, but didn’t shy away from the idea of managing one day.
“Right now, my passion is pitching,” Cooper said. “That’s all I’ve done for the White Sox for 26 years. That’s what it’s been all about. I think I could do it. I think I could manage. If I had the right people around me, I think I could do it. I don’t think it’s necessarily X’s and O’s. I think it’s more managing people, creating an atmosphere, things like that.”
For now, though, Cooper squashed the idea of him taking over as manager for the 2012 season.
“My conversations (with general manager Ken Williams) always had to do with being the pitching coach,” Cooper said.
Perhaps a down-played story line through the Ozzie Guillen drama has been Mark Buehrle, who could be making his last start in White Sox uniform Tuesday night.
Cooper said it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Williams to ask of his opinion on whether or not to re-sign the veteran left-hander.
“We always communicate about that stuff,” Cooper said. “We haven’t done that yet. I’m not sure when the time and place is going to be to get that done. If somebody asks me, I’m never short of opinions on certainly the pitching department.
“As a pitching coach, I’d be a screw ball not to want him back. Let’s talk about Buehrle. It may or may not be the last game (Tuesday night.) Nobody knows about that. I’m fortunate enough to have been the pitching coach for 10 years because I’ve had pitchers that do a good job and make me look smart and been able to keep my job. If I’m looking at one particular guy who’s done that, it would have to be Buehrle because he’s been here the longest and has done the most. I thought about this a while ago that this could be (his last game.)”
Could Tuesday’s game bring out some emotion in the 55-year-old New Yorker?
“ I’m not emotional right now,” Cooper said. “The only two times I’ve ever gotten emotional was winning the World Series and when Buehrle pitched the perfect game. … Tonight, I’m not sure what’s going to happen.”