Injury update: Cook, Youkilis, Dice-K

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Injury update: Cook, Youkilis, Dice-K

PHILADELPHIA -- Some updates on some rehab stints and injured Red Sox players:

Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis was set to play seven innings for Pawtucket Saturday, his third appearance with the Triple A affiliate.

"I told Kevin when he left, when he feels like's he seen the ball enough and when he feels good, to let us know,'' said Bobby Valentine. "It will be soon (that he rejoins us).''

Valentine said he would expect that Youkilis would play a nine-inning game before returning.

"When he feels like he's been put through the test,'' said Valentine, "when he's seen a lefty and righty...whatever he as an experienced hitter feels he needs. And then, of course, the medical people give him a green light. But it seems like the green light is on.''

The likely scenario has the Red Sox activating Youkilis for the start of the three-game series with the Orioles in Baltimore Monday.

Aaron Cook. Cook has been sidelined for two weeks after suffering a gash below his kneecap in a home plate collision.

He threw a bullpen session Saturday afternoon, after which he was expected to have the stitches in the knee removed.

"He's running,'' said Valentine. "He ran (Friday), he ran again today. When he get his legs underneath him, I think we're going to try to get him on a rehab assignment.''

"I feel great,'' said Cook. "I've been able to run, ride the bike, so I feel like things are progressing the way they need to. I'd love to tell you (I'll be ready after) one start or two starts, but until I go out there and do it, I don't know.''

Daisuke Matsuzaka. Matsuzaka is set for his next rehab start Tuesday for Pawtucket, and the following day, his 30-day rehab window is over.

The Sox don't seem inclined to activate him this week, however, believing he needs additional time as he recovers from last summer's Tommy John surgery.

"I talked to him (Friday) and he felt good, but not that good,'' said Valentine. "We're going to see how he feels after his pen (Sunday). It seems like he has a couple of issues that are not where they should be.''

According to Valentine, Matsuzaka is experiencing some soreness in his lower neck area.

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California. 

 

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."