Cook throws long toss; Opening Day appears realistic

Cook throws long toss; Opening Day appears realistic

PHOENIX -- Ryan Cook is already throwing again, further proof that his mild hiccup with shoulder inflammation was just that.

The A's reliever had been shut down for nearly a month before returning to the field at Papago Park on Saturday to throw long toss from 75 feet pain-free. Considering it marked the first official day of workouts for pitchers and catchers, Cook couldn't have timed it any better.

"Had [the inflammation] happened now, maybe I'm not back in time," said Cook, who posted a 2.54 ERA in 71 appearances last year. "Now I have time to get back and should be ready to go in just a couple weeks.

"I don't feel any pain right now. Today I actually felt better than I have in a really long time. I feel great. It's night and day. In fact, I ask myself, 'How long was I dealing with it without knowing?' My arm felt alive, and I haven't really felt that out of my hand in awhile."

The right-hander was already throwing from 120 feet when he first experienced discomfort, so it's not like he's starting from scratch. He'll be a few weeks behind other pitchers, but is fully expected to be Opening Day-ready. The A's never even sent him for an MRI.

"They didn't think it was necessary, and neither did I," Cook said, "so it was nothing that was ever a scare. Just enough that we wanted to shut it down and get it right before we got going."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.