Cook hopes to contribute

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Cook hopes to contribute

SEATTLE -- Aaron Cook's 2012 season has already been interrupted once before. Now, as mid-season appraoches, he hopes he can be a contributor to the Red Sox for the final three months.
Added to the team's 25-man roster in early May, Cook made just one start for the Red Sox before a collision at home plate resulted in his left kneecap being gashed open, requiring stitches and an extended stay on the disabled list.
Cook returned to action last weekend and earned a win over the Atlanta Braves. Now, as the Sox scuffle to re-arrange their rotation to give some of the regulars extra rest, Cook is, finally, part of the team's plans again.
Last time out, he went five innings and allowed three runs before being lifted. "I felt like I could have gone another 25-30 pitches,'' said Cook Thursday. "But the timing of the game, how many runs we had, it was just the perfect time to get rested up and get ready to go (in the next one). I feel like we're definitely building up, going in the right direction on that one. Hopefully, I can go out this time and try to push seven or eight innings.''
"Considering he's still finishing up a rehab,'' said Bobby Valentine, ''he was able to throw enough pitchers to progress from the last time he pitched. He threw pitches up in the zone that had enough sink on them to still be effective and he maintained all of his pitches through the 80 pitches that he threw.
"If he can build on that, I like what we have.''
The Red Sox began the season with a starting five of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard, but since then, have worked in Daisuke Matsuzaka, Frankin Morales, and Cook.
"I think they did a great job of stocking us with arms this year,'' said Cook. "You never forsee having these types of injuries throughout the season. But they had a good plan and I was ready to come back when Clay got sick and Josh is ready to come back. It's really good timing.''
Even with Buchholz sidelined for a while, the Sox are going to a six-man rotation to offer some extra bounce-back time.
"If ever a guy's out of gas, it might be now,'' said Valentine of the turn to the six-man rotation. "It's not necessarily even a physical thing. You start looking at the finish line (at the All-Star break) and you lose a stride.''

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.