DENVER, CO: Starting pitcher Aaron Cook #28 of the Colorado Rockies works the second inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Aaron Cook Starting For Red Sox

Aaron Cook wasn't called up by May, which triggered his opt-out clause with the Boston Red Sox, but that led to a fancy new promotion to the big leagues.

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Aaron Cook: Boston Red Sox Starting Pitcher

Not yet, but soon. When the Boston Red Sox signed Aaron Cook over the offseason, he was something of an afterthought. He was eliminated from the starting-rotation competition during the spring. His minor-league contract included a May 1 opt-out clause, and there was talk that the Red Sox could trade him, rather than call him up.

But the Red Sox are calling him up. And they're starting him in place of Josh Beckett this coming Saturday:

Beckett threw 126 pitches in his last start, against the White Sox. He came away dealing with what's been termed "unspecified soreness", which, okay, maybe that's something to worry about, and maybe it's not. For now, Beckett is missing one start, and that start is going to Aaron Cook. It's unclear if Beckett is having his start skipped, or simply pushed back a day or two. This post isn't about Josh Beckett.

This is about Cook, and the positive thing about Cook is that he posted a 1.89 ERA in triple-A. Less positively, he racked up just 13 strikeouts over five starts, but the sinker-baller kept 55 of 84 balls in play on the ground, and that's his strength. Aaron Cook will do as much as his sinker can do for him. If his sinker is what it used to be, the Red Sox should have a useful pitcher on their hands. If it's not, then in time he'll go back to being an afterthought again.

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Boston Red Sox Bring Up Aaron Cook

From 2004 through 2009, Aaron Cook pitched 928 innings. His ERA+ over those six seasons: 117. A list of pitchers who have done something similar over the last six seasons includes a who's who of very, very wealthy men. But in 2010, Cook stumbled a bit, and in 2011 Cook was hurt and ineffective. He went from one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball to a minor-league contract.

But he had an opt-out clause with the minor-league deal he signed with the Red Sox, and he would have been a free agent if the Sox didn't call him up. So according to WEEI.com, he's up:

Instead, the team expects to call up Cook in the coming days. Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Cook had 24 hours to request his release if not promoted within the 48-hour window. But before the expiration of such a window, the team plans on adding Cook to its major league roster.

Here's what Cook did in the minors:

Year Lev ERA GS IP H HR BB SO
2012 AAA 1.89 5 33.1 26 1 11 13


If you think the strikeout-to-walk ratio looks ugly, don't forget that Cook is an extreme ground-ball pitcher and sinkerballer. He averaged less than four strikeouts per nine innings when he was having the most success of his career, and that was at Coors Field, where putting the ball in play can be especially deadly. If his sinker is back to where it was before the injury, he could be a steal for the Red Sox.

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Aaron Cook Not Recalled, Might Be Traded

Aaron Cook was not called up by May, which triggered his opt-out clause with the Boston Red Sox.

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