PHOENIX -- The A's concerns about reliever Ryan Cook and his readiness for opening day may have taken a stark turn for the good.

Cook, who is recovering from shoulder inflammation, hasn't pitched in a game this spring and threw only his second bullpen session Saturday, the first at full velocity. But things went so well that the right-hander said he fully expects to start the season.

"Great, awesome," Cook said of his 23-pitch session. "My shoulder felt strong, I never felt any hiccups and was happiest with the fact that I was able to throw game speed with no setbacks, no ache afterward. Those were all things I was struggling with when I had the inflammation."

Cook said it'll be up to the club to determine when he's ready for a game, but physically he said he feels "ready to go." Cook said his location wasn't as sharp the second time around but maintained that was to be expected considering he threw only at 75-80 percent in his first outing last week.

Manager Bob Melvin was impressed with what he saw from Cook.

"The intensity was there," Melvin said. "He looked like he was throwing in a game, and that's what we want to see. You can never really simulate being in a game, but there was nothing about easing into it. You want to let it go, and if you're not feeling anything, that's the first hurdle."

Melvin said Cook will likely throw a couple more bullpens, and perhaps a simulated outing against hitters, before he pitches in a spring game.


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  • Perhaps the most noteworthy development in Oakland's 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies was that Melvin got ejected in the seventh inning by home plate umpire Adam Hamari, who started umpiring in the majors the middle of last season.

    Hamari called a first-pitch strike to A's hitter Shane Peterson that Melvin thought was outside, and the manager said, "Get 'em on the plate." When Peterson was subsequently called out on strikes, Melvin said "you made your point" and was promptly tossed.

    "Usually the magic words come with four-letter words," Melvin said. "What are you going to do? Usually when you get thrown out, there's some intent involved." Melvin said it was only his second spring training ejection ever.

  • Daric Barton strained his left hamstring rounding first base on a fly ball in the first inning and immediately came out of the game. The severity of the injury was not known, but Barton could miss a little time even if it isn't that serious.

    "Hamstrings aren't something you want to mess around with," Melvin said.

  • A's starter A.J. Griffin gave up six hits and three runs to the first nine hitters he faced but then settled down to record six straight outs to complete his three-inning outing. He didn't walk a batter and struck out two.

    "In the first inning, I was leaving the ball up," Griffin said. "I felt a lot better the last two innings. So there were good things to build on and also some things to work on. I think I was just too excited to pitch and warmed up too early."

  • While noting there are probably three candidates in the running, Melvin said "we're not there yet" in terms of the A's naming an opening-day starter. Health, spring performance and matchups will determine who gets the nod, the manager added, but the front office and coaching staff still have to discuss it.

    It was a topical subject Saturday considering the A's faced Colorado's Brett Anderson, who was Oakland's opening-day starter last year. Anderson pitched three innings, allowing three hits and a run on an RBI triple by Nate Freiman.

    Anderson said it was "surreal but fun" to pitch against his former team and even asked a couple of A's hitters after outs whether they were looking for a particular pitch he threw.

    "They gave me some feedback, which was good, something that wouldn't happen with players you hadn't played with before," he said.

    Anderson said his surgically repaired foot is fine and joked "I might have retired" when he nearly got to first base in time to complete a first-to-short-to-first double play. He's also getting a feel for hitting, something he'll have to do in the National League.

    Asked if he or Bartolo Colon would have more hits this year, Anderson said, "I'd put money on me. I just want to get more hits than (Brandon) McCarthy and (Trevor) Cahill and not give up any hits to them when I face them."

  • The A's face a predicament with right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez, who missed last season following Tommy John elbow surgery but may be on the verge of returning.

    "There's nothing holding me back, I'm throwing all my pitches," Rodriguez said of his simulated throwing session Friday.

    Melvin agreed, noting, "If you were to watch him, you'd say, 'Why the heck isn't he pitching in games right now?' But there's a timetable for that you don't want to get ahead of." Rodriguez is also out of options, which may be another reason Melvin noted the pitcher is unlikely to see game action this spring.

  • The A's renewed the 2014 contracts of third baseman Josh Donaldson and pitchers Jarrod Parker and Cook at the $500,000 major league minimum. None of the players renewed is arbitration eligible.

  • Nonroster catcher Dusty Brown, who was not expected to make the major league club but could be a top Triple-A candidate, had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Friday and will be out indefinitely.

    Follow Carl Steward on Twitter at twitter.com/stewardsfolly.