Sat Mar 12 12:42am EST
But that door may have closed — both literally and symbolically — on Thursday night, breaking a finger on Cook's pitching hand in the process.
"My understanding is he was going out the door and realized there was something that he had forgotten and quickly went back to get back in, and the door had obviously closed and caught his finger and smashed it," Tracy said.
Cook was already expected to miss the first few weeks of the season with a shoulder ailment. Now that ETA could be pushed another few weeks, though Cook says he is ready to push through the injury as quickly as possible.
"It's unfortunate. I woke up today after long-tossing and my shoulder was pain-free, but my finger really hurt," Cook told The Denver Post. "At two weeks, I am hoping to start throwing. I don't use the finger really to grip the ball. So as long as it doesn't hurt when I throw, I am going to push as fast as I can to get back."
Needing a fifth starter only twice in the season's first 25 games, the Rockies will likely count on 25-year-old Esmil Rogers(notes) to temporarily fill the void. Assuming Cook is out beyond that time frame, Rogers could become a permanent starter. Or former New York Mets starter John Maine(notes), who is currently working his way back from shoulder surgery, could also find himself ready to compete for that spot.
As for Cook, he's undoubtedly a tough guy. He proved that when he battled all the way back from blood clots in his pitching shoulder in 2004. He's also a definite asset to any team when he's right. But one has to wonder, with all that he's been through then, and with the injuries (toe, shoulder, hand) piling up now, will we see that version of Aaron Cook again? And if we do, how long will it last?