When you had the oblique injury were you surprised it took so long to get back, and number two, having your first real start in the World Series, are you afraid of rust, and how do you handle that?
AARON COOK: Well, I was kind of surprised how long it was going to take to recover from the oblique injury, but our trainers were never surprised. They've had a very good amount of dealing with oblique injuries with guys swinging the bat and throwing, so they gave me a heads up. You never really know until you go through something how long it's going to take, but they had a pretty good idea and they were pretty much dead on. They told me six to eight weeks I'd be healed, and here we are.
The rust, I'm not really worried about that. My main thing was being healthy, and I'm here, so we'll go out there and compete and I think I'll be fine.
Do you find it ironic and somewhat special while you're literally not facing Jon Lester that both of you had near life threatening illnesses and now you're going head to head in Game 4?
AARON COOK: It is kind of ironic with him going through what he went through and me what I went through, both of us to work our way back up to the top level of professional baseball. It's tough enough to get here, and what we've been through, just to keep our focus, keep our faith, and just realize -- I'm sure he realizes, too, without me talking to him that baseball is not the most important thing, and once you realize that baseball is not the most important thing in the world, you're able to relax, put it back in perspective, play it like a game and just have fun, and I'm sure that's what he's been able to do, too.
You talk about having the strength to deal with that. Where did you get your strength from?
AARON COOK: Well, a lot of my strength came from my faith in God. I grew up in church. I believe that God has a plan for us all, and that we all deal with things differently, and there's a verse in the Bible that says "consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because testing of your faith develops perseverance." That's one verse I really held onto. You can't really become the person you're supposed to be until you deal with something, and you never now how you're going to deal with it until you go through it. I think that gives you strength once you've been through something to deal with other things. I had the blood clots in my lungs in '04, and I believe that helped me to have the strength to get through the oblique injury this year.
Remind us how many simulated games you threw and exactly what the rehab has been to get back to this point?
AARON COOK: The first rehab started ended up being in Tacoma. I made an out in the first inning on the last pitch I threw, ended up reinjuring it. But since then I've been throwing a lot of long toss. I threw a game in the Instructional League, which ended up being 80, 85 pitches, and since then I've been throwing a lot of simulated games against our lineup, and our lineup is pretty good, so I've been fortunate to face those guys. I think I've had three simulated games. I feel pretty comfortable with where I'm at, and tomorrow will be the real test. It's the biggest stage.
All the pomp and circumstance you encountered in Houston this year with Mr. Biggio, how in any way can that help you going into tomorrow night?
AARON COOK: Well, that was a lot of excitement for him in the city. To be a part of it is something you never want to do is be the other name on the record. But he's such a great player it's kind of an honor. Tomorrow night is going to be about the Rockies and about the city of Denver. I think it's going to be a lot more crazy than it was in Houston that night. I guarantee it's going to be a lot more loud. It's just one of those things, once you've been through something like that, that magnitude, it helps you to be able to deal with the next step and the next step, and you just continue to grow.
The conventional wisdom is that for a sinker ball pitcher you can be too strong. Is that true in your opinion, and if so, how do you guard against that tomorrow night?
AARON COOK: It is true. I think sometimes a sinker ball pitcher can be too strong. The way I'm going to try to guard against that is just go out there and try to be as calm as possible and just worry about executing pitches, which I was able to do up until the time I got hurt and not really worry about throwing the ball by guys because I know I'm going to feel strong. But at the same time I know I'm probably not going to have that mid to upper 90 velocity that I once had. Just go out there and worry about executing my pitches than throwing it by guys and let the sink take over.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.