The Mariners announced Thursday that they’ve selected the contract of right-handed reliever Ryan Cook from Triple-A Tacoma. Fellow righty Christian Bergman, who pitched quite well in a spot start for Seattle yesterday, was optioned back to Triple-A to clear space on the roster for Cook’s promotion. The Mariners now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
This will mark the first appearance in the Majors for Cook, a former All-Star, since the 2015 season. His career has been slowed considerably by injuries in recent years, as a lat strain wiped out his 2016 season, and he underwent Tommy John surgery that October, shelving him for the entirety of the 2017 season as well.
Now 30 years old, Cook is off to an outstanding start in Tacoma, where he’s yielded just three runs on 10 hits and three walks with 17 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings of work. Cook hasn’t allowed a homer so far this season, and he’s inducing grounders at a healthy 53.1 percent clip.
That sort of output was par for the course for Cook early on in his career. From 2011-14 with the A’s, he racked up 190 2/3 innings of 2.60 ERA ball, averaging 9.3 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 with average or better ground-ball rates along the way. If he’s fully healthy, he’ll be a welcome addition to the back of a Seattle bullpen that has struggled of late. Juan Nicasio, in particular, has fallen into a dreadful slump after pitching well in April.
If Cook is able to return to form, the Mariners will control him not only for the 2018 season but also through the 2019 campaign. He entered the year with four-plus years of Major League service time, so he’ll be arbitration-eligible once more this offseason.