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Rockies Briefs

Rockies Briefs

Aaron Cook is back.

That 2 1/3-inning meltdown on opening day last week in Arizona? Just a temporary leave of absence. And although the Rockies lost 7-5 to the Phillies on Sunday, Cook looked much like the pitcher who made the All-Star Game last summer.

"He seemed to be more aggressive," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He made pitches; he battled on a cold and challenging day to be out there. He had nine groundballs that he rolled for 11 outs."

Cook's pitching line - three runs and seven hits over six innings - wasn't great, but it should have been enough for a victory.

Cook's best friend, as always, was his double-play sinker. He escaped jams in the fourth and sixth with inning-ending groundball double plays. No surprise there, since Cook has induced an average of 1.31 double plays per nine innings pitched over the last four seasons - the best rate in the majors. Being able to turn to that pitch is a security blanket.

"Most of the time I hope I don't have to use it," Cook said. "Knowing that I do have it is good. I've worked really hard when I get in those situations to be able to slow the game down and realize I am just one pitch away from getting out of it."

Helton sits. The early-season game plan will be to sit first baseman Todd Helton in day games following night games. It's a precautionary move to take care of his surgically repaired back. That was the case Sunday, and although the ultra-competitive Helton might not always like it, that's the way Hurdle has drawn it up.

"I will be in concert with the trainers," Hurdle said. "Todd wants to play, I understand that. But we've got a long road in front of us. We aren't dealing with a hamstring injury over the winter. I'm not going to say anything is in cement, but we will play it by ear. I know that initially we are going to be proactive."

Helton, who entered the game for defensive purposes in the eighth inning and flied out to left in his only at-bat, declined to talk about not starting Sunday's game.

Footnotes. The Rockies begin an important early road trip today in Chicago. They play the Cubs twice, move to Los Angeles for three games, then travel to Arizona for three. ? After sitting out the season opener in Arizona, Clint Barmes has started the last five games at second base.

Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 15, 2009

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