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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Cook can tell his own tale of survival
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published October 28, 2007
Aaron Cook was diagnosed with blood clots in both lungs after complaining of dizziness while warming up for a 2004 start, had two surgeries to alleviate the dangerous situation and missed nearly a year.
DENVER - Boston pitcher Jon Lester's return from battling lymphoma to starting the fourth game of the Series will be a major storyline tonight.
But he's not the only feel-good story on the mound.
Colorado starter Aaron Cook was diagnosed with blood clots in both lungs after complaining of dizziness while warming up for a 2004 start, had two surgeries to alleviate the dangerous situation (including an eight-hour operation to remove a rib that was pressing on a vein) and missed nearly a year.
"He was put in a position where not only was his sport going to be taken away but so was his life," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Cook's battles then helped him persevere through a lingering oblique injury that sidelined him since Aug.10, forcing the sixth-year Rockie to miss the division and league championship series.
"I think that gives you strength once you've been through something to deal with other things," Cook said. "I had the blood clots in my lungs in '04, and I believe that helped me to have the strength to get through the oblique injury this year."
Cook's layoff from his last start to his Series start is the longest since 1955, when Bob Grim went 112 days, though he worked in 14 games as a reliever during the interim.
LOW-KEY LESTER: The grand stage of the Series can make the story of Lester's recovery into an inspiration for cancer patients and their families, but his focus is on what happens on the mound.
"You know, I'm just trying to take it as another start, trying not to look at it as anything extra than that," he said.
WHAT'S UP: Denver is, by far, the highest elevation for a Series game at 5,280 feet; next closest is Phoenix at 1,117 feet. The first-pitch temperature of 45 degrees matched the fifth coldest for a Series game in the past 25 years.
DIFFERENT LOOK: With Kevin Youkilis out of the lineup so DH David Ortiz could play first, Sox manager Terry Francona moved CF Jacoby Ellsbury to leadoff and dropped Dustin Pedroia to second. They became the first rookies to hit 1-2 in a Series lineup, and were quite the hit, combining to go 7-for-10 with four RBIs and three runs. The last rookies to hit back-to-back were the 2000 Mets' Timo Perez (seventh) and Jay Payton (eighth). The last rookies near the top of the order were Jack Sheehan (second) and Bernie Neis (third) for Brooklyn in the 1920 Series.
Ellsbury also joined Matt Williams (Arizona, Game 6, 2001) as the only players to double twice in one inning of a Series.
ROCKIES, TOO: Hurdle followed through on his thoughts of shaking up the Colorado lineup, benching CF Willy Taveras (0-for-7) in favor of Cory Sullivan in center, and going back to a previously successful top two of Kaz Matsui and Troy Tulowitzki.
"I don't believe you ever want to put up a lineup at this point in the season where guys go, 'What?'" Hurdle said. "We have options."
MISCELLANY: Saturday was the anniversary of the Sox winning the 2004 Series. ... Daisuke Matsuzaka was the first Japanese-born pitcher to start a Series game. ... J.D. Drew has hit safely in nine straight postseason games ... Carrie Underwood sang the national anthem and Denver native Philip Bailey, a founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire, handled God Bless America.