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Scott Pianowski

Closing Time: The case for Aaron Cook

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Four games, a bunch of injuries, a few quick hitters. Settle in for a sneaky-busy Monday and let's bullet the blue sky.

Aaron Cook(notes) generally isn't the type of pitcher you run towards in a mixed league; he toils in Colorado and he's a little light on the strikeouts. That said, he's really got the feel of his sinker right now and he's been super in his last four turns (all wins), including Monday's outing in Anaheim (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K). If you're leery on using Cook for thin-air turns, at least there's a cushy Oakland assignment waiting for him Sunday. Colorado's resurgence as a team (the Rockies are on a sterling 17-1 run) helps the cause as well.

Carlos Beltran(notes) was battling a sore knee for about a month and the other cleat dropped Monday; the Mets decided, after an MRI, to put the star outfielder on the 15-day disabled list. The club is cautiously optimistic that Beltran will be out the minimum time but it's too early to say with any certainty. Fernando Martinez(notes) is back with the team and will see some run in center field, though Jeremy Reed(notes) got the call Monday.

Maybe Akinori Iwamura's(notes) 2009 season isn't done for after all. It turns out he's only got a partial tear in his ACL, which leaves the door open for a possible return in the final quarter of the year. Iwamura had the knee scoped on Monday, with a 6-8 week rehab period to follow. In a very deep mixed league, you could do worse as a DL stash-and-hope.

Khalil Greene(notes) went 1-for-3 with a run for the Cardinals Monday, his least-eventful game since returning from the DL last week. In his first three starts he collected three homers and two injuries (foot contusion; sore knee from a HBP), though neither nick appears to be a serious thing. He's going to get an extended shot at third base, while Tyler Greene(notes) and Brendan Ryan(notes) appear to be Tony La Russa's platoon men at short. Position eligibility, power, a good story, I'm a sucker for this Greene set-up, one more time.

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Trevor Cahill(notes) did all he could to make Brad Evans look good Monday, checking the Giants over seven strong innings (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K). Brad Ziegler(notes) took over from there and got a working-class save, striking out four of the six men he faced (Andrew Bailey(notes) needed a rest anyway).

Jonathan Sanchez(notes) was likely pitching for his rotation spot on the other side and he didn't pass the test, getting knocked around for eight hits and four runs over 5.1 innings. Look at the Oakland lineup, for crying out loud - Rajai Davis(notes) was batting sixth. Travis Ishikawa(notes) accounted for the lone Giants run, swatting his third homer in four games. It's not enough for me to consider a pickup; Ishikawa strikes out too much (38 times in 126 at-bats), he's stuck in the bottom third of the order, and he's got a mediocre .421 slugging percentage.

Handshakes: Bobby Cox played the matchups in the late innings Monday, which is why lefty Mike Gonzalez(notes) came into the game before Rafael Soriano(notes) (save No. 6). … Francisco Rodriguez(notes) (19) needed just 10 pitches to put down the Cardinals, 1-2-3. … Huston Street(notes) wasn't needed with the Rockies winning a laugher in Anaheim; a day of rest is important for Street, given that the club has lost Manual Corpas for a while and Taylor Buchholz(notes) for the season.

More Injury Blog: There's a good chance Grady Sizemore(notes) (elbow) will be back with the Indians Tuesday. … Yunel Escobar(notes) sat out Monday's game due to a strained right hip. The club hopes to get him back Tuesday, but keep in mind he had a similar injury in May and it cost him a week. Kelly Johnson(notes) is also nicked up for the Braves; he played six innings Monday, then came out with leg cramps. … Denard Span(notes) (ear infection) is on a rehab assignment and should rejoin the Twins Thursday. … Ervin Santana(notes) (forearm) hit the DL Monday; apparently he had some discomfort during his pitching session on the weekend. Sean O'Sullivan(notes) steps into the Anaheim rotation Tuesday. … Xavier Nady(notes) (elbow) is ready to start his rehab assignment; he'll report to Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Wednesday. He's probably looking at an early July return to the Yankees. … Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) (shoulder) is only hitting left-handed in batting practice right now, but nonetheless he's set to begin a rehab assignment. … John Maine(notes) (shoulder) might be ready to return to the Mets on the weekend, not that you want to trust him against the Yankees. … Joey Votto(notes) (ear) is traveling with the Reds, and context clues point to him playing Tuesday in Toronto. … Alex Gonzalez had elbow surgery Monday and is out indefinitely, which extends the leash for Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes)Josh Outman(notes) (elbow) probably won't make his Wednesday turn. He hasn't picked up a ball since Friday.

Speed Round: Vladimir Guerrero(notes) had an 0-for-3 night and hasn't homered in 25 games. … After going 22 games without a steal, Dexter Fowler(notes) (2-for-5 Monday) now has two swipes in his last three starts. … Chris Iannetta's(notes) season stats still look like dirt, but he's on a 9-for-31 stretch with three homers over his last 11 games and physical issues had something to do with his early-season funk. He's not universally owned right now but he absolutely should be. … Omir Santos(notes) never met a pitch he didn't want to hack at - he's got just six walks in 121 plate-appearances - but so far the approach is working for him. He collected four singles in the Mets win over St. Louis, pushing his average up to .298. … Garret Anderson(notes) went 2-for-4 Monday and has quietly hiked his average up to .285 after a slow start. He's hitting .321 in June.

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