SARASOTA, Fla. ?? It took a few weeks, but Aaron Cook finally made his Red Sox spring training debut.
After being shelved during the first week of action, Cook tossed two scoreless innings in Sunday’s 6-1 win over the Orioles, striking out a batter while walking two others.
“It felt really good, the first inning I was a little amped up,” said Cook, who ranged in between 89 and 90 mph. “I felt like a little kid. I was able to make some pitches and get out of the inning. Got a lot of groundball [outs] and that’s what I need to do.”
Since Cook has battled shoulder injuries in the past, the Red Sox proceeded with caution this spring training, offering the right-hander additional off-days in between bullpen sessions while limiting his pitches per session.
While watching his fellow pitchers throw against competition, Cook admitted he was impatient during his delay.
“It was kind of difficult, but I knew it was for the best,” Cook said. “When you put your career first, you trust the trainers and do what they say and hopefully it’ll all work out.”
The plan was for Cook to throw on a limited pitch count. But after Cook escaped the sixth inning unscathed, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine elected to extend the veteran’s stint against Baltimore.
“As I said all along, I’m not sure there’s enough innings [for pitchers] between now and whenever that magical date is,” Valentine said. “But with those two innings under his belt, the day that he’ll be ready to help us seems to be not so far away. It seems like it will happen if he keeps throwing like that.”
A sinkerball pitcher by trade, Cook induced four groundball outs through two frames. He mixed in four curveballs and even notched a strikeout with a fastball.
“Trying to extend my game,” Cook said. “Don’t want to put myself in a box.”