Cook: No one's discussed role beyond Saturday

748377.jpg

Cook: No one's discussed role beyond Saturday

BOSTON -- Aaron Cook makes his first start for the Red Sox on Saturday, but after that, nobody's discussed the plan with him.

"There has been no discussion," said Cook before Friday's game at Fenway Park. "I just know I'm taking the ball on Saturday. And then, whatever happens after that, we'll get ready and go."

Cook was promoted to Boston's active Major League roster on Thursday, and will take the place of Josh Beckett on Saturday, who is suffering from a strained lat.

When asked if he'd be opposed to moving to the bullpen after Saturday's start, Cook said that wouldn't be a problem.

"I wouldn't be opposed," he said. "Pitching here and just helping to contribute in any way, that's what I want to do. But my main focus is tomorrow I've got to go out there, take the ball, and then after that we'll worry about that."

Cook went 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA for Triple-A Pawtucket before being called up. And even though the promotion may have taken longer than he may have liked, Cook is happy to be in Boston.

"It's really nice. This is where I've wanted to be the whole time. And to actually get the call up to be here and actually be with the guys I was with in spring training, to be able to make my first start here is just unbelievable," said Cook.

"I definitely made the right choice," he added. "This is an organization that I wanted to be with. I knew the coaches, I know a lot of players on this team. It definitely was the right choice."

Cook said he let his agent handle his May opt-out clause, while he just worried about his pitching. And after a few years of nagging shoulder injuries in his last couple of seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Cook said his sinker and breaking stuff has been effective for him in the minors.

"I've been working really hard on my sinker, getting late into games, throwing more pitches and innings," said Cook. "And I've been able to use my breaking stuff more effectively too. Once I get guys swinging at the sinker down and away, or the sinker in, then you can mix it up a little bit and just keep them off-beat.

"I just want to go out and give us a chance to win every time I take the ball," he added. "That's kind of what I did in spring training. My goal was to go deep into games and give us a chance to win. With this lineup, if you can keep the other teams to a few runs, we're going to have a really good chance."

Other than his sinker and breaking stuff, Cook credits his consistency -- not any increase in velocity -- for his confidence entering Saturday's start. And having a healthy shoulder helps too.

"I don't even know if you can put the shoulder from last year and the shoulder from this year in the same category," said Cook. "They have a really good shoulder program here, and the training staff has done an excellent job of monitoring everything from day one of spring training. And it's really paid off being patient."

The Red Sox hope the patience pays off for them as well.

Red Sox-Yankees: Pregame news and observations

red_sox_eduardo_rodriguez_092815.jpg

Red Sox-Yankees: Pregame news and observations

BOSTON -- As we get ready for the first Red Sox-Yankee series of the season, some pregame news and observations:

* Eduardo Rodriguez was at Fenway, to be checked by the training staff after his rehab outing in Syracuse Thursday night. Rodriguez allowed three runs -- two earned -- in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits and walked three while striking out two.

"He came through it fine from a health standpoint,'' said John Farrell. "He was probably a little rusty. He's going to need some innings.''
Rodriguez is scheduled to pitch again Tuesday for Pawtucket. The Sox are undecided about what their plans are beyond that, but it seems likely he'll make another rehab start after that.

* Blake Swihart made his debut in the outfield Thursday, and according to Farrell, had just one chance in left: a ball that he initially lost in the lights before eventually recovering.

"The first game, after some work...(he's), as we all are: a work in progress,'' said Farrell. "The footwork was initially something that we had to address (in pre-game work). We've had (minor league outfield coordinator) Billy McMillon in there to work with him. It's been about some of that first-step reads and jumps to his routes to get accustomed to. Here's a guy, for the last four or five years, the game is coming to him (behind the plate). Now, all of a sudden, he's reacting to balls off the bat. It's a completely different view of the game. This is going to take some time in the outfield.''

Farrell said the goal is to get Swihart in the outfield a couple of times per week.

* Farrell hinted that the Sox may be close to dropping a pitcher -- they currently are carrying 13 - and adding another position player. For the past week, the Sox have had just three extra position players on the 25-man roster.

"Maybe (Friday night) might have some impact on that,'' said Farrell, suggesting that as long as starter Henry Owens doesn't need relief help early, the Sox may be in a position tomorrow to swap a reliever for a role player.

As it stands, the Sox have an extra catcher, outfielder Chris Young and infielder Josh Rutledge. Not long ago, they had infielder Marco Hernandez up, but Farrell said it wasn't a given that the player added will be an infielder.

"I don't think we need to center around an infielder,'' said Farrell. "The best complement would be a left-handed bat.''

On the 40-man roster, that profile fits only two players: Hernandez and Swihart, who's a switch-hitter.

Hernandez was optioned back to Pawtucket on April 20, and rules state that a player must spend 10 days in the minors before being recalled. On Saturday, that 10-day period will have elapsed.

It's highly unlikely that Swihart would be brought back so soon, since the Sox want him to continue his development behind the plate and get more comfortable in the outfield.

"We wanted him to come up here and not play more than half the week,'' said Farrell. "I think that derails everything that we're trying to accomplished currently.''

* Joe Kelly (shoulder impingement) threw a 35-pitch bullpen Friday and will throw long-toss Sunday, with another bullpen set for Tuesday. After that, the Sox will schedule his first rehab assignment for an affiliate.

"He's going to need some innings, obviously,'' said Farrell. "We haven't gotten him to full speed yet. For any pitcher, that last five to ten percent of intensity is always the benchmark. We're going to have to build him up to 80-plus pitches.''

* The Red Sox lost lefty Edwin Escobar on a waiver claim to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Escobar was taken off the 40-man roster and designated for assignment when the Sox had to get William Cuevas onto the 40-man roster.

Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

red-sox-logo-110415.jpg

Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

BOSTON -- Henry Owens will be on the mound tonight, making his second start of the season, as the Red Sox play the Yankees for the first time in 2016.

The lineups:

YANKEES:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Texeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Starlin Castro 2B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
---
Masahiro Tanaka P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
Henry Owens P