FORT MYERS, Fla. -- On the same day that some of the competition got thinned out for the Red Sox' starting rotation, Aaron Cook took a big step forward for himself.
Cook pitched 3 13 scoreless innings for the Sox in a split-squad matchup in Sarasota against (more-or-less) the regular Baltimore Orioles lineup.
It was Cook's second appearance of the spring, which had been slowed some because of some shoulder weakness earlier in camp.
He allowed one hit and walk with a strikeout and got plenty of ground balls with his sinker.
"Thats me, Cook told the Boston Herald after his outing. I pitch to contact and try to get the guys out of the box as quick as possible and get our guys off the field so they can come in and hit. Today I did everything I went out there to accomplish.
Cook has now pitched a total of 5 13 innings without allowing a run in Grapefruit League action. Saturday, he threw 39 pitches, 24 of them for strikes.
With a number of younger pitchers (Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront) out of options, Cook may have a difficult time making the 25-man roster for Opening Day. In all likelihood, he'll head to Pawtucket, then have a decision to make when his May 1 opt-out date arrives.
Still, Cook isn't totally writing off his chances.
"I think theres time (to make the team),'' he told the Herald, "but well have to see how it plays out. Two and a half weeks is a long time. Theres a lot of stuff that can happen. I feel really good, and its a good place to be in. Im pretty happy.
At the very least, he can be a lot happier than Carlos Silva. Like Cook, Silva had a history of shoulder woes and was signed to a minor league deal in January. But Silva was released Saturday and Cook continues to battle for a roster spot.