Before Saturday's game against the White Sox, Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine and pitching coach Bob McClure told reporters in Chicago that they've discussed the possibility of recalling Cook from Triple-A to pitch in the bullpen — not as a starter.
The rationale is reasonable. With the emergence of Daniel Bard as a starter, the rotation is seemingly occupied with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront in the picture.
Instead of allowing a pitcher of Cook's caliber to exercise his opt-out on May 1 and leave, the Red Sox have no choice but to capitalize on his skill set. Cook could plug a hole in a bullpen that’s been riddled by inconsistency.
It’ll be foreign territory for Cook. Prior to yielding three hits and four runs in his lone relief appearance in 2011, the sinkerball specialist last pitched from the Rockies' bullpen in 2003.
But McClure believes his protege is ready for the task.
"When I talked to him right before we broke [spring training], he said he felt like he could pitch out of the bullpen," McClure told reporters. "… Before, I don't think he could have physically — got up, got down, up."
Since spring training, Cook has insisted this is the healthiest he’s been in recent years. His numbers in Pawtucket have backed it up — he's 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings.