Take an informal poll around clubhouses in Arizona and Florida, and many players will tell you that spring training is too long. But Oakland reliever Ryan Cook may need every bit of the six weeks leading up to the March 31 opener against Cleveland.
Cook was a valuable righty set-up man for the AL West champion Athletics last season, pitching in a team-high 71 games and striking out 67 in 67 1/3 innings. But Cook is still bothered by shoulder inflammation and is not scheduled to throw his first bullpen session of the spring until Thursday. Manager Bob Melvin is not so sure Cook will be ready for the opener, admitting it will probably go “down to the wire.”
And what if Cook isn’t ready? John Hickey of the Mercury News says the A’s have plenty of options, starting with Luke Gregerson, who came over in a trade with San Diego. Jesse Chavez and Evan Scribner are other in-house choices.
With the start of the season less than four weeks away (excluding those games in Australia), here’s a look at some other buzz around the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues: