Decision time for Red Sox on Cook

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Decision time for Red Sox on Cook

BOSTON Before Aaron Cook has to make his decision, the Red Sox will have to make theirs: Add the right-hander to their major league roster or risk losing him. Cooks opt-out date is tomorrow.

In five starts, spanning 33 13 innings, for Triple-A Pawtucket Cook has posted a record of 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA, with two complete games. He has held opponents to a .217 average. He leads the International League in innings pitched, is second in wins, fourth in ERA.

General manager Ben Cherington was in this afternoon, manager Bobby Valentine said before Mondays game against the As. We talked again on that. Im sure that he has all of his ducks in order. I dont know exactly when, why, how with these deadlines and all that stuff, but everyones opinion has been shared.

Cook signed with the Red Sox this offseason as a minor league free agent, after 10 seasons with the Rockies. He has made 238 career starts, with 32 appearances out of the bullpen. He made one relief appearance last season. Before that, the last time he came out of the bullpen was in 2003, his first full season in the big leagues when 27 of his 43 appearances were in relief.

Manager Bobby Valentine said today if Cook is brought up, it would be to work out of the bullpen.

I havent talked to him, So I can't speak for him, Valentine said, when asked if Cook was receptive to that plan.

Cook has a 1.86 groundball-to-fly out ratio with Pawtucket, and a 1.91 big league career mark.

When he throws the sinker its a real good pitch. The hitters hit the top of it, Valentine said.

The evaluation process for someone in Triple A is done by a collection of things -- his numbers and what the uniformed people see and what the people in the stands see. Its always a collection to let you know what weight you put on it.

Cook was delayed in spring training, as a precaution because of past shoulder issues. He appeared in four Grapefruit League games, making three starts, plus a start in a minor league this spring. In league games, he went 14 13 innings, going 1-0 with an ERA of 1.88.

He didn't pitch that well but when he was throwing well and had that sinker I really liked it, Valentine said. Its a little different pitch than many people feature. Competitiveness, he works quickly, he fields his position, has game presence--all that good stuff. I like that, too.

But after being a starter this season and primarily in his career, how difficult will it be for Cook to make that adjustment?

I think it'll be challenging, Valentine said. You dont know whats going to happen. Right now I couldnt say that it could be anything other than that.

After this three-game series with As, the Sox have an off-day scheduled for Thursday. After that, they dont have another off-day until May 24, giving them 20 games in 20 days perhaps necessitating an extra starter.

I think thats a factor, a consideration, Valentine said.

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

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Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.