Sox visit with ailing ex-bullpen coach
Kusnyer trying to return after dealing with vision problems
ST. PETERSBURG -- The White Sox got to see a familiar face on the road Saturday, when former bullpen coach Art Kusnyer visited with the team prior to the game against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Kusnyer spent the last 11 seasons as the White Sox bullpen coach and was set to start his first year as the Minor League bullpen instructor before being forced to step down due to vision problems.
"I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm a tough guy and it doesn't bother me. I miss it," Kusnyer said. "I think if I could see, it might bother me even more, but because I can't see, I've accepted that I can't really do anything right now. My main focus is to get my sight back."
The friendly former Major Leaguer made the trip from nearby Sarasota, Fla., and told the media he was optimistic the eye procedure he is set to undergo in May will have him back coaching sometime this season.
Currently, Kusnyer said he is making substantial progress in his left eye, and said his doctor's reports have been positive the last month and a half, saying "everything's been looking good." The problem started with a detached retina in his right eye last September, and his left eye has also given way since the initial problem.
Kusnyer said if all goes well after the surgery, he will be fitted with special lenses by a cataract specialist and hopes to return to the bullpen in June.
"Yes, I want to get to work because the White Sox have been outstanding," Kusnyer said. "I want to get back to work. I want to get there and travel around the Minor Leagues -- see the kids, see the coaches and the managers."
Kusnyer was entering his 22nd year in the White Sox organization.
"This guy has been in baseball for so many years," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "And to be out of the game the way he is right now is something you always feel. ... I know how much he misses it."
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.