Pair Of Veterans Sign With Philadelphia Phillies

By David A. Cattai
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed and invited veteran right-handers Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz to Spring Training.

Cook, who turns thirty-four in February, went 4-11 with a 5.65 ERA in 18 starts with the Boston Red Sox last season. He spent the previous ten years of his career with the Colorado Rockies, where he went 72-68 with a 4.53 ERA in 238 games. Cook also holds the record for career wins as a Rockie with 72, innings pitched with 1312.1, and career starts with 206.

Cruz, on the other hand, is a thirty-four year old reliever who has spent 12 years in the MLB with seven different teams. Last season, Cruz was 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA and one save in 43 appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates until he was released for refusing to accept a demotion to Triple-A. He has pitched in 477 games throughout his tenure as a major league pitcher.

Both pitchers are looking to make the most of an opportunity to play in the major leagues next season.

Cook may be a long shot to make the Opening Day roster because Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan are likely candidates to fill out the starting rotation. He may have a chance to remain in the minor leagues with Triple-A Lehigh Valley just in case a starter goes down with an injury. If Cook makes the Phillies roster, then he will receive $1.625 from the organization.

Cruz, on the other hand, may be one of the likely candidates to finish out the Phillies bullpen. With pitchers such as Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, and Antonio Bastardo being virtual locks in the bullpen, Cruz will be competing with younger relievers such as Phillippe Aumont, Michael Stutes, Jeremy Horst, and many others for the final spots in the bullpen. Because of his veteran leadership, experience with pitching in both leagues, and his recent consistency, Cruz may find himself on the Phillies Opening Day roster.

The Phillies are looking to end their one-year playoff drought, which is something that seemed impossible after the past five seasons. If they want to return to the post season in 2013, then they will need consistency from their rotation as well as their bullpen. The addition of Cruz and Cook may come in handy this season. Look for the two veterans to impress and make an impact during 2013.

David A. Cattai is a featured journalist with Rant SportsFollow me on Twitter (@DCattaiSports), Facebook, and Google+ for sports updates.

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