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Cook pitches in Majors for 1st time since 2015

Former All-Star missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- The Mariners returned to an eight-man bullpen on Thursday by selecting veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Cook from Triple-A Tacoma and optioning Christian Bergman back to Tacoma.

Cook was a 2012 American League All-Star with the A's, but he hadn't pitched in the Majors since 2015 and missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old posted a 2.03 ERA with two saves in 13 appearances for Tacoma this year, with 17 strikeouts and three walks in 13 1/3 innings.

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SEATTLE -- The Mariners returned to an eight-man bullpen on Thursday by selecting veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Cook from Triple-A Tacoma and optioning Christian Bergman back to Tacoma.

Cook was a 2012 American League All-Star with the A's, but he hadn't pitched in the Majors since 2015 and missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old posted a 2.03 ERA with two saves in 13 appearances for Tacoma this year, with 17 strikeouts and three walks in 13 1/3 innings.

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"I'm ecstatic," Cook said before allowing no runs and no hits and striking out one in 1 1/3 innings Thursday against the Tigers. "It's been a long road for me personally. I think it's safe to say this one probably means the most out of any calls I've gotten."

Cook tore his lat muscle in his first Spring Training outing with the Mariners in 2016 and then tore a hamstring while rehabbing. After finally getting on the mound again, he injured his elbow in his first rehab game and underwent Tommy John surgery.

During his 2017 return, he needed a second surgery after scar tissue built up around a nerve in the elbow.

"The most humbling part was wondering if I could ever do it again," Cook said. "I felt like I pitched at a pretty high level up here. Those days you come back from rehab and can't even move your arm or feel your fingers and literally just looking at yourself in the mirror and wondering if it might be over; that was by far the most humbling part. Luckily on those days, I had my fianceé there to kind of yell at me and get my butt in gear."

Bergman threw seven scoreless innings in a spot start in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Rangers and now will return to Tacoma's rotation.

Cook replaces right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel, who was designated for assignment on Sunday to open a temporary spot for Bergman on the 25-man roster.

Cook re-signed with Seattle this year on a Minor League contract, so he had to be added to the 40-man roster, which is now at 39 players.

Cook's last Major League appearance had been on Sept. 16, 2015, when he threw an inning of relief for the Red Sox in Baltimore. He was dealing with arm issues that year and had an 18.69 ERA in nine outings for the A's and Red Sox.

When healthy, Cook was a durable reliever for the A's and earned an All-Star berth in 2012, when he went 6-2 with 14 saves and a 2.09 ERA in 71 appearances.

"I feel like I'm throwing the ball well. I'm confident in my ability and feel like I'm back to where I used to be," Cook said. "I'm healthy and just looking to help these guys as much as I can."

Manager Scott Servais said Cook nearly made the team out of Spring Training, but they wanted to see him build his arm further. He believes the veteran could bolster the club now that he's ready.

"It's a nice fit into our bullpen. We'll need a lot of guys to pitch in here as the season goes along," Servais said. "He's a competitor and it's hard for him to have been out. He's excited to be back and I'm sure the adrenaline will be going and I think we'll be the benefactor of that. I'm looking for him to really give us a shot in the arm."

Over five Major League seasons, the California native is 13-12 with 17 saves and a 3.43 ERA in 207 innings.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Ryan Cook