Cooper to White Sox prospect Kopech: Ease up on the gas

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech signs autographs at Camelback Ranch on Thursday in Glendale, Ariz.

      White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech signs autographs at Camelback Ranch on Thursday in Glendale, Ariz. Scot Gregor | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/16/2017 7:32 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When asked about rocket-armed pitching prospect Michael Kopech after Thursday's workout at Camelback Ranch, Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was typically glib.

"Michael, obviously, is a talented kid," Cooper said of the 20-year-old pitching prospect acquired from Boston in the Chris Sale trade. "He's got a heck of an arm. He seems to be a guy so far, and I've only had one or two short conversations with him, let him go out and play, he does everything really hard.

 

"Every single pitch, he's trying to throw the (bleep) out of it, to tell you the truth. I'm anxious to get to a sideline with him to see if he can do the touch and feel. I don't need game stuff on practice days."

Kopech registered 105 mph on the radar gun last season when he was pitching for high Class A Salem in the Red Sox's system, and he threw 110 mph last month in a throwing drill.

Cooper knows the young Texan has a big arm, but Kopech needs to learn how to pitch before he reaches the major leagues.

"The roadsides in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States, the roadsides are strewn with dead bodies of guys who man, they had a really good arm," Cooper said. "But nobody ever told them it's about throwing it to the glove and it's about throwing strikes. It has nothing to do with stuff. Some guys can throw it 95. Some guys throw it 85. It has do to with throwing the ball to the glove with movement, whatever style. What good is a tremendous arm if you are not going to throw it over?"

While Kopech was throwing his first bullpen on Wednesday, Cooper was constantly in his ear.

"He basically had to tell me, 'Don't do everything 100 percent right away. It's going to be a long spring,'" Kopech said. "That's something I have trouble grasping. I'm a guy who likes to do everything 100 percent. He was basically telling me, 'Relax a little bit, settle in, hit the glove.'"

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Ready to roll?

For the third straight day, starting pitcher Carlos Rodon was a spectator at the White Sox's training camp on Thursday.

The 24-year-old lefty insists he is healthy, and so do the White Sox.

Expected to log heavy innings this season with Chris Sale already traded and Jose Quintana expected to be moved, Rodon is being eased into the long season.

"We've got a whole lot of time and we are going to take our time with him," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "(Friday), his program starts. He's fine. He's good. He's good. He's good. We are not going to ask somebody to do something if they are not."

The quote:

Shortstop Tim Anderson was asked about newcomer Yoan Moncada, one of baseball's top prospects and the Sox's second baseman of the future.

"He kind of reminds me of me," Anderson said. "Speed, everything, but he has more power than me. He's a really good guy."

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