Loaizas resurgence has been key

The White Sox might be gone from the 2006 playoffs, but they haven?t been all together forgotten.

Oakland manager Ken Macha credited White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper with a helpful word of advice in regard to Esteban Loaiza when the A?s visited Chicago in late May. At the time, Loaiza was out of action, nursing a strained trapezius muscle.

?One of the things, as he was going through his rehab, we went to Chicago and talked to Don Cooper, the pitching coach in Chicago, and one of the things that he said, one thing that E-Lo likes to do is compete,? Macha said. ?That’s exactly what he did for us.

?In August, he was one of the guys that stepped up and propelled us through August. He had a great August and got us the lead that we needed getting into September.?

Macha talked about Loaiza throwing a 79 mph fastball during an April game against the Angels, not exactly falling in the optimum range, even for a pitcher who tops out in the low 90s. But just as Loaiza competed his way with the White Sox to a second place finish in the 2003 AL Cy Young balloting, the right-hander bounced back with a 4-0 record and 1.48 ERA in August and an 8-4 record with a 4.01 ERA during the season?s second half for Oakland.

Loaiza?s stage will move a little more into the limelight on Tuesday.

Scott Merkin / MLB.com

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