Call it a case of allâ€™s well that ends well as Aaron Cook is officially a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Reached Wednesday night, Joe Bick, Cookâ€™s agent, says he went ahead and filed the necessary â€śopt-out notificationâ€ť paperwork shortly after the clock struck midnight and the calendar read May 2, one day following the May 1 opt-out clause that the veteran pitcher had written into the minor-league deal he signed back in January.
As Bick noted, the move was merely a procedural step with dialogue between himself and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington progressing to the point that â€śwe had a pretty good idea that they wanted to get Aaron up there. It was just a matter of seeing where it all fit and pieced together while trying to keep (Boston) from playing with a short roster for a couple of days.
â€śThey were very upfront with us from the start and basically let us know that they were trying to figure out a way [to get Cook in a BoSox uniform],â€ť Bick added. â€śWe went through the formality of filing notices and that sort of thing, but weâ€™ve known for a few days that we thought we could get this taken care of.â€ť
An almost perfect storm of events broke Wednesday, which in turn paved the way for Cook to join the Sox. With manager Bobby Valentine dispensing word that Josh Beckett would not be making his next scheduled start, Boston suddenly found itself in the market for someone to take the ball against Baltimore Saturday. Turns out that someone is Cook, who posted strong numbers â€“ 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts â€“ during his April stay with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Bick mentioned that Boston explored the possibility of starting Cook next Monday at Kansas City. As is always the case, plans can change on the fly. Opportunity arose for the 33-year-old after it was deemed that skipping Beckett would prove beneficial.
Asked if one of the sticking points as to how Cook would be used with the Sox, be it as a starter or a reliever, was the reason why he wasnâ€™t called up May 1, Bick replied, â€ś(Cherington) never talked about anything other than starting. The important thing for me is that Aaron has pitched so well that they (the Red Sox) recognized that thereâ€™s a lot of value there for their own organization, and I donâ€™t think there was any internal consideration to let him go.â€ť
Bick touched base with his client, who naturally expressed satisfaction regarding the news. When Cook does take the mound Saturday, it will mark his first appearance with a team other than the Colorado Rockies, with whom he spent 10 MLB seasons with.
â€śAaronâ€™s very happy with the way things worked out,â€ť Bick stated. â€śObviously he would have loved to have made the club coming out of spring training, but itâ€™s a real tribute to him in that he was able to put himself in this position because thereâ€™s a lot of pressure to perform.
â€śFrom the first day of the season, it was all in Aaronâ€™s hands and he grabbed it by the throat.â€ť
Regarding the Red Sox, not all of Wednesdayâ€™s player-related developments yielded the kind of merriment that comes with a much-touted prospect (Will Middlebrooks) getting his first big-league taste, or a veteran pitcher (Cook) getting a second chance after proving himself in the minors.
The lower back ailment that has forced Kevin Youkilis to miss games recently had not improved to the point that a trip to the disabled list could be avoided. As a result, Boston took the guesswork out of the equation by placing the third baseman on the 15-day D.L., retroactive to this past Sunday. Barring any further setbacks, Youkilis would be eligible to come off right around the time Boston kicks off an eight-game road trip that commences May 16 in Tampa Bay.
Bick, who also represents Youkilis, remarked that the time off should hopefully allow the irritation in the playerâ€™s back to subside.
â€śItâ€™s been frustrating for him when he feels great one day and takes batting practice the next day and has a spasm that causes the issues heâ€™s having,â€ť the agent said. â€śRather than trying to fight through it on a day-by-day basis, we really felt like it was better for him to go on the disabled list and get it right so that itâ€™s not an issue for the rest of the year.
â€śObviously there are no guarantees [that the time off will help], but we feel that if this can get corrected right now and Kevin can get some therapy from the Red Sox people, it puts him in good stead for the rest of the way.â€ť