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NLCS notebook

Rockies cool on Cook

PHOENIX - The Colorado Rockies added center fielder Willy Taveras to their postseason roster yesterday but chose not to include righthander Aaron Cook, their Opening Day starter.

Taveras has been out for almost a month with a calf injury but convinced the coaching staff he could contribute with a strong showing during yesterday's workout. Taveras took the roster spot of lefthander Mark Redman.

The Rockies decided against adding Cook, who is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list this week. Instead, righthander Josh Fogg, who has fared better against the Diamondbacks this season, will start Game 3 of the National League Championship Series Sunday night.

Cook, who threw about 90 pitches yesterday in an instructional league game in Tucson, was 8-7 with a 4.12 ERA when he was sidelined by an oblique injury Aug. 10.

Cook showed that he was healthy in the seven-inning outing, manager Clint Hurdle said. But the Rockies chose to go with Fogg, who was 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four starts against Arizona this season.

It's not known whether Taveras will regain his starting job. While he could add another speedster to the top of the Rockies' lineup, such a move also risks spoiling the offensive cohesion that sparked the Rockies' 17-1 run.

Second baseman Kaz Matsui has been spectacular in the leadoff spot in Taveras's place, and Ryan Spilborghs has played well in center field.

Call to arms

When the Rockies lost three-fifths of their starting rotation to injuries in a 16-day span at midseason, they turned to two pitching prospects and rushed them to the majors.

Without Franklin Morales, 21, and Ubaldo Jimenez, 23, the Rockies wouldn't be in this purple haze.

Jimenez (4-4, 4.28 ERA) held opponents to a .228 batting average and provided a big boost with an electric four-pitch repertoire that features a 99-mile-per-hour fastball.

"Any time you can throw a baseball 100 miles per hour and break off a 72 mile-per-hour curveball and a 76 mile-per-hour changeup and a slider that's gotten better with time, it's fun to watch," Fogg said. "I'm a little jealous . . . but he's been the best pitcher on our staff by far."

Morales (3-2, 3.43) joined the rotation for the final six weeks of the season and tied the club record with 20 consecutive shutout innings.

While everybody else marvels at their early success, both Jimenez and Morales shrug it off.

"I was sure of what I had," Jimenez said.

So was Morales. "Everybody's surprised by what I can do, but it doesn't surprise me," he said, "because I've worked very hard to get here. And I plan to stay here for a long time."

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