Diamondbacks' Cook Finds A Fit In The Bullpen

PHOENIXA move to the bullpen this season has worked out well for Ryan Cook, who gained velocity and retained command while earning a short promotion to the Diamondbacks in late July. He was there less than a week, but he showed the stuff that made him a fast riser in his first season as a reliever.

Cook, 24, was a starter throughout his college career at Southern California, and he remained in that role after joining the Diamondacks as a 27th-round pick in 2008. Arizona wanted him to develop his secondary pitches.

Organizational depth having improved, the D-backs used the opportunity to convert the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Cook into a bullpen specialist, a move that agreed with all involved. Cook's fastball jumped into the high 90s at Double-A Mobile, and a radar gun one night caught him at 100 mph.

"It's been a nice story of guys jumping forward and taking that next step in their development," director of scouting/player personnel Jerry Dipoto said, also alluding to the progress righthander Bryan Shaw has made while making the same shift to the bullpen this year.

"It's been a pretty big change, really," said Cook, who mainly relies on a fastball/slider mix. "Stepping into that role was a little different. I got used to it pretty quick, I guess you could say. It's just little adjustments, really. It's still pitching. It's still facing the same hitters."

He was 1-4, 2.25 with 13 saves at Mobile, opening the season as a set-up man and moving to closer when Shaw moved up to Triple-A Reno. Cook converted 11 straight save chances and kept the command that was evident in previous seasons, striking out 50 while walking just 14 in 44 innings. Like many closers, he embraced that pressurized role.

"I loved it," he said. "When Bryan left Mobile and I stepped into that role, it was something that I really liked. I like that adrenaline, that adrenaline rush of coming in. Make it or break it. That was fun."

Snake Bites

• Lefthander David Holmberg went 1-2, 4.94 in his first five starts after his promotion to high Class A Visalia. Holmberg, 20, made two quality starts there, and had 22 strikeouts in 27 innings.

• Righthander Trevor Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft, made his pro debut on July 30, throwing two scoreless innings for Visalia.