Cook tries to get on top of ball in effort to correct flaw

Ryan Cook says he's trying to get his fingers more on top of the ball to drive it lower in the strike zone.

Ryan Cook says he’s trying to get his fingers more on top of the ball to drive it lower in the strike zone.

It’s good to be a veteran, as the A’s Ryan Cook attested Tuesday.

On Monday he gave up three runs in two innings as his bloated spring ERA settled in at 16.88.

The 2012 All-Star took a matter-of-fact look at the situation.

“If I wasn’t a veteran,’’ he said, “I might not be here right now.’’

Instead of being shipped down to the minor league camp, which would be the fate of a rookie, he’s getting time to work out his issues, spending time with pitching coach Curt Young. He’s healthy and he’s feeling stronger than he has in a couple of years, and he has the advantage of not making himself crazy about his mid-spring struggles.

    “I’m really feeling good, and it’s not translating into results right now,’’ Cook said. “That’s frustrating, waiting for that translating.’’

Cook watched video of himself Monday night times of “when things were going well,’’ and came to the conclusion that he needs to get his fingers more on top of the baseball, the better to keep the ball down in the strike zone. For much of the spring, Cook’s pitches have been up, and hitters have made him pay.

“I need to get the ball to drop more’’ he said. “I need to put myself in a position where I have a higher probability of success.’’

The right-hander said he’s not happy with the way things have gone this year, but knowing that he’s healthy and he still has a couple of weeks to get things together is some solace.

“There’s plenty of time to get it figured out,’’ he said. “I’m working on it every day, and it’s getting better. It’s all about adjustments.’’


–The next step for Jarrod Parker on his way back from Tommy John surgery is a simulated game, with fielders and with no screen for Parker to pitch behind. That will happen later this week.

–Manager Bob Melvin said right fielder Josh Reddick, who will soft toss and work on the field Tuesday as he comes back from a right oblique strain. He said Reddick might be in games by this weekend. He would need to play by Saturday or Sunday to have a reasonable expectation of getting enough at-bats to be ready for opening day April 6.

–Third baseman Brett Lawrie was in Melvin’s original Tuesday lineup but some lingering soreness on Lawrie’s part led Melvin to give him another day off. Lawrie, who is due to return to the lineup Wednesday, has a history of injury problems, and the A’s are trying to stay ahead of the situation.

–Ike Davis is in the middle of three consecutive days starting at first base. Melvin said he likes the offensive approach Davis is taking, hitting the ball to the opposite field, which is particularly helpful when he faces left-handed pitching.

–Nate Freiman had hoped to be back working out and playing by this team, three weeks after suffering a back strain. Things are going more slowly than he would like, but “things are getting better.’’ He said the one thing “I might have to do is give up golf for the time being.’’ That might be a bit of a sacrifice, because his wife, Amanda Blumenherst, is on the LPGA tour.

–The A’s made a mild run at Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera, but reports Tuesday morning said he’d signed with the Dodgers, a six-year deal. The A’s had concerns about his health – arm problems limited him to mostly being a DH last year – but Oakland like enough of what they saw that they were interested if they could get him at the right price, but they weren’t going to come anywhere close to the $62.5 million the Dodgers put forward

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.