Cooper working his magic with Jackson

Cooper working his magic with Jackson

DETROIT -- As Don Cooper was being interviewed near the White Sox clubhouse on Thursday morning, Freddy Garcia walked by and took a playful jab at the pitching coach.

"The genius," said Garcia with a laugh.

Cooper has a reputation for turning around pitchers possessing great ability, who previously underachieved until they made their way to the White Sox. All-Star Matt Thornton and Gavin Floyd, the American League Pitcher of the Month for July, are just two current examples.

Edwin Jackson might be added to that list before the 2010 season comes to a close. Cooper identified a flaw in Jackson's mechanics by watching video before the White Sox acquired the right-hander via a trade with the D-backs, and then implemented his change during Jackson's first side session with Chicago.

That work resulted in seven-plus scoreless innings from Jackson during the White Sox 4-1 win over the Tigers on Wednesday. More importantly, the hurler who walked 60 over 134 1/3 innings with Arizona walked just the last batter he faced vs. Detroit.

"He got in bad habits," said Cooper. "He was collapsing more than he should. When you collapse, you get under pitches, around pitches. [Stuff] can get flat. Some parts of the plate can be much harder to attain.

"Another thing he did really well is he's bought into, 'Let's see how good I can be throwing first-pitch strikes and getting them to hit the first, second or third pitch, and if not, get ahead in the count.' His strike-to-ball ratio was excellent. The credit goes all to him, because he's the guy throwing every pitch. But it's awfully nice when it works out."

Jackson has another side session on Friday in Baltimore. Cooper approaches that effort with the same excitement he had for Jackson's first session, his first pregame and his first White Sox start.

During Wednesday's pregame warmup, Jackson turned to Cooper after briefly slipping back into one of those bad habits and acknowledged what he had done. Cooper believes knowing the mistake already indicates winning the battle.

"When a guy knows when he's doing something wrong, there's a chance to fix it," Cooper said. "You don't have to search and struggle all the time."