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06/11/08 8:53 PM ET
Cook making case for All-Star nod
Rockies starter has nine wins, second most in National League
By Jeff Birnbaum / MLB.com
DENVER -- Rockies starter Aaron Cook has done just about everything over the first two and half months of the season to warrant a spot on the National League All-Star team.
If there was such a thing as an MVP award for a last-place team, Cook (9-3, 3.21 ERA) would be the front man for the Rockies. His nine victories account for more than a third of Colorado's total wins (25) and are tied for second best in the NL with Cincinnati right-hander Edinson Volquez.
Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins shuddered when he was asked where the Rockies would be without Cook.
"I don't even want to think about that," Atkins said Tuesday night after Cook gave up three earned runs in seven innings to earn the win. "That's just silly. He's been our best pitcher so far."
There's still more than a month until the July 15 Midsummer Classic at Yankee Stadium, but the last Rockies pitcher to win at least nine games before the break -- Shawn Chacon in 2003 -- earned a spot on the All-Star team.
"It's not even halfway through the season," Cook said. "I've got to keep going out and do the same thing I've been doing. Stay consistent and give our team a chance to win or it's not going to mean anything in the long haul."
Cook's chances of making the All-Star Game are even greater given that Rockies skipper Clint Hurdle will be the NL manager. Even if Cook isn't voted in by his peers, he could still be selected by Hurdle, who gets to hand-pick five players.
But Hurdle, who is managing an All-Star team for the first time in his career, hopes Cook can make his job easier by being voted in by the players.
"That would be nice," Hurdle said. "The more people that get picked by their peers, the better off you are, I would think, not having any experience. Aaron has put himself in a position for definite consideration."
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.