Red Sox pitcher Aaron Cook, currently in Triple-A Pawtucket after signing a minor league deal this winter, said that he is focused on pitching as well as he can rather than spending too much time thinking about whether or not he will exercise an opt-out clause in his contract if he is not called up by May 1. That said Cook -- who is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts -- said in an interview on the Mut & Merloni show that he feels that he is ready to contribute to a big league club.
"I just feel like I'm healthy. I feel like I've done what I've needed to do. Hopefully I will get a phone call [informing him of a promotion to the big leagues] by May 1st," he said. "[The opt-out date is] always in the back of your mind, but you can't control it till it comes. As of now, I'm still down here. I'm going to do what I can to try to win my next start, and when May 1 comes, me and my agent will have a conversation about what's going on if I haven't gotten a phone call yet."
Cook said that, for the first time in years, he feels like he is fully healthy at the start of a season. He was encouraged by his most recent start -- a seven-inning complete game in which he allowed just one run on Monday for the PawSox -- in which his velocity ticked up to 92 mph and by the fact that he is getting opponents to pound his sinker into the ground.
"The results are kind of speaking for themselves right now," said Cook. "I hit 92 a couple times last night. That's really encouraging to me not for the fact that I can throw hard but that I can sustain throughout the game, throw the ball where I want. ... I don't know where the top [velocity] would be for this year, but as long as I'm getting groundball outs and going deep into game, that's what I'm going off of, not how hard I'm throwing or how soft I'm throwing, but whether or not guys are still hitting the ball into the ground. When they start lifting the ball and hitting it off the wall, then we'll have something we'll have to go back and look a little bit closer."
Asked if he would extend the opt-out date beyond the May 1 opt-out (as Andrew Miller and Kevin Millwood did while in Pawtucket last year), Cook did not rule out the possibility, noting that he would still have a June 1 opt-out and he would receive a bonus for not exercising the May 1 opt-out.
"If I stick around a little longer, I have a June 1 [opt-out] and get a little extra bonus. There's another buyout bonus-slash-day in there," said Cook. "I don't know how much discussion there would be [of extending the May 1 opt-out]."
Even though he remains in the minors during a month in which he has looked like a pitcher who can contribute at the big league level, the 33-year-old said that he regretted nothing about his decision to sign with the Sox this offseason (in which he turned down other clubs).
"It was the opportunity that they were saying was out there. They needed to fill a couple starter roles. They didn't know what they were going to do with a few guys. I have a long history with the pitching coach, and it's such a great city to play in. Who would want to turn down the opportunity to play in Boston?" said Cook. "For me, it was the three things combined that led to my decision to sign here. It's been great. The organization has been awesome, coaching staff, major league, minor league, everybody has been great. I wouldn't change my decision for any other one right now."
Cook remains optimistic that things will work out with the Sox, thogh for that to happen, an opportunity would have to emerge. If the Sox keep their current five starters in the rotation (Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard), Cook was asked if he would be open to working out of the bullpen in Boston.
"I do definitely view myself as a starter, but I have pitched out of the bullpen in the past. I probably have 40 or 50 appearances coming out of the bullpen," he said. "It's definitely something that is fun and interesting, but teams have expressed to me that they view me more as a starter. But for me, either way. If I get the ball and get to go out and pitch, I'll do whatever."
We check in for our weekly update from Bill Belichick and get his take on the Pats win over the Texans on the road, the benching of Stevan Ridley, and Antonio Smith's thinly veiled Spygate comments after the Texans lost.
Patriots’ defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, joins Mut and Merloni on a Patriots Monday after the team’s victory in Houston. Rob addresses the postgame comments of Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith and the defense struggling against the run.
Tom Brady joined the show fresh off the teams 9th win of the season in Houston. He dismissed Antonio Smith's spying allegations and told the guys he has already moved on.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Peter King joins Mut and Merloni to go across the NFL and address the latest news. He discusses Kubiak's firing, Tomlin's fine, and Dennard's possible suspension.
Brick makes his weekly appearance on Mut and Merloni and discusses the Bruins loss to Montreal and the hit on Johnny Boychuck.
Michael Fabiano, fantasy expert and Yankees fan, gives his opinion on the Cano signing, discusses Julian Edelman's rising fantasy value, and actually suggests starting Ryan Fitzpatrick
We check in with Herm Edwards on the Pats, Stevan Ridley, and a great many things around the NFL.
We stir up a pot of crap when we debate the world cup and the popularity of soccer... pro callers, con-callers, plus Jack Edwards!
We tackle four topics at 4PM.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.More from this show
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.More from this show
Jackie Mac joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics, and the Jacoby Ellsbury deal with the Yankees.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.More from this show