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."
Shortly after the NFLRA released its statement demanding an apology from ESPN, Jim Quirk, the NFLRA's Executive Director, joined Mut to talk about the statement
WEEI's Chris Price joins Mut to talk about his experience of being in yesterday's Patriots championship parade, and which New England free agents could return to play for the Pats next season.
Super Bowl champ Vince Wilfork joins the show to talk about his feelings about winning the Super Bowl and what his future holds.
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We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
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David Ortiz takes a few minutes to talk with Mut, Bradford, and Tomase about some of his new teammates, who Pablo Sandoval reminds him of, and the rules aimed at speeding up the game of baseball.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking Red Sox spring training. and talk with Red Sox DH David Ortiz about the rules aimed at speeding up the pace of the game
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The commish Gary Bettman sat down with DJ and Joe to discuss the Winter Classic coming to Gillette Stadium, the salary cap in the NHL, and more.
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Mookie sat in with Dino, Gerry and Kirk to discuss the upcoming season and his preparation for playing in the outfield. Mookie also details one of his favorite hobbies, bowling.
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The guys kick off a free form Friday by looking at the competition in the outfield and a possible peace with Pete Abe.
On this weeks Aloha Friday, Tim apologizes to our producer Tom for not knowing who Leonard Nimoy was, Christian bashes Kanye West, and Joey makes amends for mistaking camel noises for llama noises
DJ Bean joins Middays with MFB to talk everything going on with the struggling Bruins
On this week's Fauria Five, Christian asks what the over/under on how many times Ortiz will be fined for stepping out of the batter's box this season, will the Bruins make the playoffs, will the Patriots use the franchise tag on Devin McCourty, where does Adrian Peterson play next year, and what color was the dress that went viral yesterday
We discuss the good week that was for the prosecution in the Aaron Hernancez murder trial with attorney and professor of law Michael McCann.
Dale and Michael discuss the plight of the Bruins as the trade deadline looms.
Dale and Michael go back and forth on the circumstances around Vandy coach Kevin Stallings verbally berating a player on national TV, and using harsh language like "I'll kill you"
Mikey, Mut, and Lenny are joined by the Rev girls, who are revealing the New Revolution uniform Tuesday at the House of Blues in Boston and talking about the Revs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Maggie talk Red Sox baseball with Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill Lee, who is in Florida and out of the snow that's perpetually burying the area.
Mikey gets a call from Kirk Minihane, who wants to clear the air with Mikey and get everything settled. It goes better than you think.
Boston University coach David Quinn joins WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin to discuss the Terriers’ Beanpot title and how he feels about his team as the postseason approaches. Quinn also discusses reports about NHL interest in goalie Matt O’Connor and briefly touches on a recent misstep by Jack Eichel.
After a wild trade deadline, Ben Kichen and Sam Packard breakdown the Celtics and the rest of the NBA. Then Sam yells at Ben about the use of analytics in basketball. Ben yells back.
Chris and Nate from Barstool Sports review the events of Fast Lane and Raw while discussing the potential card at Wrestlemania.
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