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Cook, Vizcaino return to mound

Cook, Vizcaino return to mound

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook admitted that reporting last week that his shoulder was hurting was as painful as the injury itself. But skipping a start turned out to be a worthwhile move.

"It was real hard," said Cook, who couldn't recall missing any kind of start for an arm issue since 1999. "I told 'Doogie' [head athletic trainer Keith Dugger] I contemplated overnight whether I wanted to come in and say anything. But I figured we still have a month until the season started. I'm not getting ready for a Spring Training game. I'm trying to get ready for the season."

Good move.

Cook, the Rockies' No. 2 pitcher, returned to the mound Wednesday morning for the first time since March 3 and threw 42 pitches in three scoreless innings of a Minor League game at Hi Corbett Field. Also, righty reliever Luis Vizcaino, the team's top offseason acquisition, pitched a scoreless inning after being sidelined since March 4 with elbow inflammation.

It was a sigh of relief for the Rockies, who have much invested in the pair.

Cook has a four-year deal that will pay him $34.5 million -- $30 million of which was added after the Rockies picked up a $4.5 million option. Vizcaino is under a two-year, $7.5 million contract, under which he can earn a third year at $4 million based on games pitched.

Cook yielded four hits and struck out three against hitters most likely ticketed for Double-A Tulsa. Eric Young Jr. and Cory Wimberly -- speedy, front-of-the-order types -- knocked singles through the infield. Lino Garcia doubled off the left-center-field wall. Phillip Cuadrado also singled. But Cook stayed in the strike zone (27 strikes) and used his defense.

Most importantly, he felt no pain. Cook felt he caused the original soreness by slipping into a bad arm slot. He corrected the problem Sunday during a bullpen session, with special front office assistant Marcel Lachemann watching his mechanics.

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"Everything felt great, no problems," said Cook, who said he felt he could have thrown more pitches since he still has four spring starts to make. "I wasn't worried about it.

"They're Double-A, Triple-A guys, that have been playing baseball for awhile. They know what they're doing. They weren't swinging at everything. It was nice to be able to face hitters and get back into a game situation. You get out of it what you put into it. I tried to treat it as much like a regular game as possible."

Vizcaino, the primary right-handed setup man to closer Manny Corpas, had one strikeout and gave up a double to Doug Bernier, who was thrown out at third on Young's relay throw from second base. He threw 11 pitches, eight strikes, to three batters, using his sinker, slider and split-finger pitches.

"No pain," said Vizcaino, who said he can pitch again Friday or Saturday.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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