"I just know, when I follow him in the ninth, the other team is salivating because he's out of the game," Fuentes said, laughing. "This guy's coming in throwing 95 and snapping off all kinds of crazy off-speed pitches, and they're happy to see me come into the game. Maybe it gets them a little overaggressive, I don't know, but it's good to have a setup guy with electric stuff. It makes my job easier."
Since taking over the closer's job May 12, Fuentes has allowed just one run in the four outings that have followed an appearance by Cook, whose scoreless streak of 21 2/3 innings has been well documented. Cook, 24, repeatedly has credited Fuentes with helping him make the adjustments necessary of the eighth-inning role.
"Words don't even describe how I feel about him," Cook said. "He's been a big help to me, in helping me prepare, getting myself ready for the eighth-inning role. He's one of the first ones here every day getting his work in. The way he carries himself, just the way he goes about his business, the confidence he exudes and just the sure way to handle yourself in all situations, whether it be good, bad or ugly, it's all something I've taken in."
For Fuentes, 12 years older than Cook, it seems like just yesterday he was observing the routines of former Rockies teammates Todd Jones -- owner of 319 career saves -- and Steve Reed. From them, he stole some ideas to incorporate into his own routine, created some of his own, ditched others along the way and, now in his 12th year, is imparting the lessons he's learned along the way to Cook.
"More about routine, not so much how to pitch per se," he said. "Obviously he's done a tremendous job of that. I'm just trying to help him more with handling the workload. Being an eighth-inning guy, it's taxing on the body, and to throw as hard as he does, it definitely can wear out your arm quickly. I just try to give him advice on finding a routine and staying healthy, because obviously his talent is there. Eventually I think he's going to have a long career as a closer, if he can stay healthy."
For now, Cook is simply enjoying his job of handing the ball over to the closer, rather than acting as one.
"It's awesome. It's great," he said. "He's been there for me. I observe and see the way he does it, and I respect the way he does it, and I just try to draw from that as much as possible. I took a lot of pride in handing him the ball when he got his 200th save. Being here and being a part of that was big."