Aaron Cook returns to Rockies on minor league contract

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After being released by the Phillies earlier this week, Aaron Cook is coming home.

According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Cook has agreed to a minor league deal with the Rockies. He’ll begin the season with Triple-A Colorado Springs, but is hopeful of getting another chance in the majors soon. Given the state of the Rockies’ pitching staff, he’s probably in a pretty good spot.

“I know I can still compete in the big leagues, I have no doubts,” he said. “I threw really well in spring training and my arm feels really good.”

Cook was originally drafted by the Rockies in 1997 and spent the first 10 years of his major-league career with the club. In fact, he’s still the team’s all-time leader in wins, starts and innings pitched. The 34-year-old right-hander had a 5.65 ERA and 20/21 K/BB ratio over 94 innings in 18 starts with the Red Sox last season.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.