Cook: No one's discussed role beyond Saturday

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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.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers:

QUOTES

* “(Matt) Bush has tremendous arm, but what we’ve seen . . . I don’t know that there’s anyone that throws a hard enough to get it by Mookie [Betts]. Just lightening bat speed . . . The dugout erupted when he caught it.” - Farrell said on Betts’ ninth inning homerun.

* “It was an outstanding comeback. Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys. The work that our bullpen did tonight was just outstanding. ” - John Farrell said following the comeback win over Texas.

* “Koji comes back after a couple of rough outings and was vintage Koji here tonight.” - Farrell said on Uehara striking out the side in the ninth to earn the save

* “The homerun. Without that homerun, you don’t get to that wild pitch.” - Jackie Bradley said on what the Red Sox dugout was more excited about in the ninth.

* “Winning, to me that’s everything. I definitely want to go out there and throw the baseball better. I want to win myself. But at the end of the day I want the Red Sox to win.” - David Price said following the Red Sox win, despite his inability to keep the game close throughout the duration of his start.

NOTES

* David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth inning single. He’s now 12 for his last 36 during his 10-game hitting streak.

* Sandy Leon’s ninth inning double was his 12th hit of the year. He’s now 12-for-22 (.545) to start his 2016 campaign. Four of his hits are doubles and he also has four RBI. 

* David Price’s 2.1-inning start is his shortest with Boston yet. The lefty gave up a season-worst 12 hits -- the most hits he’s given up since May 8th last season in a 6.1 inning start.

* Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homerun marks his third in the last ten games.

* The Red Sox improve to 22-3 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a homerun following his 13th homerun of the season.

STARS

1) Mookie Betts

Betts had over three hours between his two base hits, but his second proved the most important. He launched a 2-0 fastball into left center, tying the game in the ninth.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley laced a homerun into the right field second deck to put Boston in striking distance at 7-4. In addition to knocking in two runs, he scored in the ninth after he walked, starting the ninth inning comeback. 

3) Koji Uehara

Despite struggling of late, Uehara was called on to close and struck out the side to seal the win. He was the final piece of the 6.2 innings of relief from the bullpen that came in one of Boston’s biggest wins of the year.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers

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First impressions of the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers

First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Texas Rangers:

Boston’s offense is always in striking distance.

The Red Sox had an uphill battle from the get-go thanks to David Price’s tough outing.

But somehow they took advantage of Texas’ equally bad pitching—that just happened to be more spread out than Boston’s bad pitching.

If Jackie Bradley Jr. doesn’t earn a walk, or Sandy Leon doesn’t fight tooth and nail for a two-out double in the ninth, that Mookie Betts homerun can’t happen.

The Red Sox need another long outing from Steven Wright.

Obviously they’d prefer a strong performance -- but the knuckler may need to bite the bullet if he’s off Saturday night.

Boston’s bullpen has been used and abused of late, and needs some rest following the Chicago series and a 2.1 inning outing from Price.

Price continues to struggle against the Rangers in his career.

Even when he was able to walk out of the first with just the one run after a bases loaded double play, but couldn’t clamp down with two outs.

The biggest reason he struggled wasn’t his velocity—although it seemed down most of the night—but his location. He left a lot of pitches up in the zone and Texas is not the team you can do that with.

Although Price was bound to have a rough start, this start went worse than anyone could’ve anticipated. To say this was a bad start is putting it nicely.

Texas gave him a nice wake-up call. He still has room to grow.

Matt Barnes had a solid performance.

It wasn’t his best, but given the situation, he did well. First off, the Rangers are a very hot team and swing early in the count. Barnes left the ball up time after times, but only surrendered the one run.

Additionally, he entered the game far earlier than he’s used to -- in the midst of a blowout where his team was on the wrong end. That’s not an easy thing to walk into for a reliever, especially one who’s used to pitching late in tight ballgames.

He gave Boston a chance when the offense started to gain momentum.

Hanley Ramirez’s power continues to show.

Although he’s not hitting at the rate he did to start the year, Ramirez laced another homer against the Rangers Friday night.

This homerun may have been his most impressive, coming on a 1-2 slider away, driving it to straightaway center -- the deepest part of the ballpark.

Boston just saw what they look like when they almost blow games.

All season the talk around the league has been how explosive the Red Sox lineup is.

Well, the Rangers offense is right there with them. The league’s hottest team didn’t waist any time scoring, and had 15 hits before Boston pitching recorded an out in the fifth inning.

Although the Red Sox outslugged Texas late, they saw what a potent offense outside the AL East can do -- and how bad pitching can undo all of that.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar