Cook: 'Anything can happen'

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Cook: 'Anything can happen'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Aaron Cook may be a longshot to make the Red Sox' starting rotation at the beginning of the year, but he's busy thinking about building up arm strength and not the long odds he's facing.

Cook pitched four innings against the New York Yankees Thursday night, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out two and didn't walk a batter over 48 pitches.

"I felt really good,'' he said. "I was able to establish early strikes and get them swinging. I feel like I had good command of the strike zone all night.''

The veteran righty used his sinker effectively and recorded half of his 12 outs on the ground.

"It's worked really good,'' said Cook. "It's been going down rather than move to the right, it's a lot better. It's down below their (swing path) and when it's moving from side-to-side, they can usually stay on it and drive the ball.''

Cook also picked off two baserunners at first, showing a quick and deceptive move.

"Playing in the National League all those years, we worked really hard on controlling the running game,'' he said. "I took a lot of pride in being able to do that on my own. I look for opportunities to use my quick move and slide step.''

Cook's minor league pitching coach earlier in his career was current Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure and the two worked together developing a good pickoff move.

Signed to a minor league deal with a spring training invite, Cook is at something of a disadvantage since the Sox could easily stash him at Pawtucket to begin the season rather than having him in the rotation at the expense of someone already on the 40-man roster.

"I signed a minor league deal here,'' he said. "I knew that they had a couple of spots there were trying to fill and I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to come and prove myself. I want to go out there, show that I'm healthy and throw strikes, take us deep into games and make it be a hard decision for them to make.''

Slowed somewhat by shoulder issues early in camp, Cook got a delayed start. Where other candidates have made four or five outings, his start Thursday was just his third.

But he believes there's still time.

"There's still about two weeks,'' he said, ''still a lot of baseball left. Anything can happen. I'm just going to keep going out there when they give me the ball and hopefully I'm ready to go.''

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”