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Which Aaron Cook Will Show Up In 2011?

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Aaron Cook of the Colorado Rockies throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 18, 2010 in Cincinnati.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Aaron Cook of the Colorado Rockies throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 18, 2010 in Cincinnati. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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If a starting pitcher can be snakebit, Aaron Cook fits the bill. During the team’s run to the World Series in 2007, Aaron Cook was on the disabled list and didn’t make a postseason start until Boston came to town in the fall classic. In 2009, while the Rockies were putting on another late-season surge towards a playoff run, Cook once again found himself on the disabled list. Then came 2010.

In early August, Cook made his way out of the starting lineup with an injury. When he finally got back on the mound after a month off, Cook won back to back starts in the month of September. But the second of those two wins came with a high price tag. Cook took a Joey Votto line drive off the leg, breaking a bone in his lower right leg. The latest injury ended Cook’s season after just 23 starts.

Cook finished off his 8th full season in the majors (all with the Rockies) with a 6-8 record. His 6 wins are his lowest total since the 2004 season. Cook was a hard luck loser on several occasions, though. In five starts in June, Cook gave up a total of 15 runs, 14 of them earned, and had a respectable ERA of 4.15. However, the veteran right-hander went 0-2 for the month with the team losing all five of his starts.

Cook’s 2010 season mirrored his career. It alternated between brilliantly pitched games in which the sinkerball specialist bordered on unhittable and games that saw Cook struggle to get outs. All of this was punctuated by still more injuries in what has started to become a disconcerting pattern.

Despite the struggles and the injuries, Cook remains a key member of the Rockies starting rotation. His calmness and steadiness on the mound adds a veteran presence to a rotation that has a number of young flame-throwers. If Cook can build upon his end to the season, an end that saw him beat the San Diego Padres and the Cincinnati Reds after his return from injury, he will once again find himself near the top of Colorado’s rotation. If, however, Aaron Cook continues his recent pattern of inconsistent play mixed with injuries, it could be a very long season for the pitcher they call “Cookie”.

- By Brett Heinzerling, CBS4 Sports Producer 

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