Aaron Cook is in the best shape of his life

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We can add Aaron Cook to the ever-expanding “best shape of his life” list, because the 31-year-old right-hander shed 20 pounds during the offseason and Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post is now calling him “Aaron Cook Lite.”
Armstrong notes that Cook lost so much weight that he actually “planned to gain a few pounds before the start of the season,” but now he may just stay at his new-and-improved 200 pounds:

That was kind of the plan, but I’m having a hard time putting it on. This is the first year I’ve ever had that problem. I usually gain five or 10 pounds at spring training. I feel good. My legs feel good, my body feels good. I’m thinking, if I can stay at 200, it would definitely help.

To recap: Not only is Cook in the proverbial best shape of his life, he’s having trouble getting back into worse shape. Almost makes me want to root against him, but I don’t really have energy for rooting thanks to the new 1,000-calorie-per-day diet that has me looking as svelte as Prince Fielder on a bad day. Must be nice.

U.S Defeats World in a power-packed Futures Game

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They played the Futures Game yesterday, pitting the top prospects from the United States against the top prospects from the rest of the world. You most likely missed it because, for reasons that have still yet to be adequately explained to me, the game takes place on Sunday afternoon, when literally all 30 major league teams are in action. Oh well.

If you did happen to see it, however, you saw a lot of bombast, as the two teams combined for eight home runs, with Team USA prevailing, 10-6. It was the United States’ eighth win in the past nine Futures Games.

Yusniel Diaz of the Dodgers system hit two homers — he was the first one to do that in a Futures Game since Alfonso Soriano did it back in 1999 — but Taylor Trammell of the Reds system was the game MVP following his 2-for-2 (HR, 3B) performance. Other highlights involved Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene, who threw 19 fastballs among his 27 pitches, each and every one of them hitting triple digits, with one registering at 103.1 m.p.h. Not that velocity is everything: a 102.3 m.p.h. pitch he threw ended up being deposited over the fence for a two-run homer by Luis Alexander Basabe of the White Sox system.

Also of note was a homer from Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates system. Notable for it breaking a tie and putting the U.S. up by two, but also notable because Ke’Bryan is the son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes. Feel old yet?

There was a lot of back and forth, and certainly a lot of bombast, but the U.S. took its final lead on a wild pitch. Here are some highlights:

Here’s hoping, in the future, the Futures Game is moved to Sunday evening or even Monday where people will have a better chance of seeing it.