BOSTON Before Aaron Cook has to make his decision, the Red Sox will have to make theirs: Add the right-hander to their major league roster or risk losing him. Cooks opt-out date is tomorrow.
In five starts, spanning 33 13 innings, for Triple-A Pawtucket Cook has posted a record of 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA, with two complete games. He has held opponents to a .217 average. He leads the International League in innings pitched, is second in wins, fourth in ERA.
General manager Ben Cherington was in this afternoon, manager Bobby Valentine said before Mondays game against the As. We talked again on that. Im sure that he has all of his ducks in order. I dont know exactly when, why, how with these deadlines and all that stuff, but everyones opinion has been shared.
Cook signed with the Red Sox this offseason as a minor league free agent, after 10 seasons with the Rockies. He has made 238 career starts, with 32 appearances out of the bullpen. He made one relief appearance last season. Before that, the last time he came out of the bullpen was in 2003, his first full season in the big leagues when 27 of his 43 appearances were in relief.
Manager Bobby Valentine said today if Cook is brought up, it would be to work out of the bullpen.
I havent talked to him, So I can't speak for him, Valentine said, when asked if Cook was receptive to that plan.
Cook has a 1.86 groundball-to-fly out ratio with Pawtucket, and a 1.91 big league career mark.
When he throws the sinker its a real good pitch. The hitters hit the top of it, Valentine said.
The evaluation process for someone in Triple A is done by a collection of things -- his numbers and what the uniformed people see and what the people in the stands see. Its always a collection to let you know what weight you put on it.
Cook was delayed in spring training, as a precaution because of past shoulder issues. He appeared in four Grapefruit League games, making three starts, plus a start in a minor league this spring. In league games, he went 14 13 innings, going 1-0 with an ERA of 1.88.
He didn't pitch that well but when he was throwing well and had that sinker I really liked it, Valentine said. Its a little different pitch than many people feature. Competitiveness, he works quickly, he fields his position, has game presence--all that good stuff. I like that, too.
But after being a starter this season and primarily in his career, how difficult will it be for Cook to make that adjustment?
I think it'll be challenging, Valentine said. You dont know whats going to happen. Right now I couldnt say that it could be anything other than that.
After this three-game series with As, the Sox have an off-day scheduled for Thursday. After that, they dont have another off-day until May 24, giving them 20 games in 20 days perhaps necessitating an extra starter.
I think thats a factor, a consideration, Valentine said.