Boston Red Sox

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.

BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: What are biggest concerns about Red Sox?

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BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: What are biggest concerns about Red Sox?

1:00 - Shaughnesy, Drellich and Merloni give their leading off impressions regarding the Red Sox

4:00 - Dan Shaughnessy explains why he is still skeptical about the Red Sox team, and why he will not be able to feel confident until he sees them play in the postseason

9:00 - Does our Baseball Show crew have a problem with the Red Sox letting Chris Sale pitch the 8th inning so he could get his 300th strikeout?

15:00 - Jared Carrabis joins the Baseball Show crew to discuss what matches he likes for the Red Sox in the playoffs. 

17:00 - Jared Carrabis on how would the Red Sox match up against the Yankees in the playoffs

20:00 - How does Jared Carrabis think about the use of David Price as a relief pitcher?

Red Sox beat Reds 5-4, reduce A.L. East magic number to three

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Red Sox beat Reds 5-4, reduce A.L. East magic number to three

CINCINNATI -- Mookie Betts wasn't about to stop. Neither are the Red Sox, who are heading home with a chance to win another division title.

Betts doubled with the bases loaded to tie it in the eighth inning and dashed home from second base on an infield single, rallying the Red Sox to a 5-4 victory Sunday that moved them closer to an AL East championship.

By winning 14 of its last 17 games, Boston has left virtually no opening for the second-place New York Yankees to catch up. The Red Sox, already assured a playoff spot, completed an 8-1 road trip that put them in excellent position to win a second consecutive division crown, something they've never done.

Coupled with New York's 9-5 loss in Toronto, the Red Sox reduced their magic number to three. They lead the Yankees by five games with seven to play.

That means Fenway Park can start preparing for a potential celebration. Boston finishes the regular season at home with three games against Toronto and four vs. Houston.

"We're learning a lot about ourselves," said Doug Fister, who pitched into the sixth. "We can put ourselves in a corner early and fight back. If we need a touchdown, the boys can put up a touchdown."

Boston inched closer with more late-game flair. The Red Sox lead the majors with 11 wins when trailing after the seventh inning.

They loaded the bases against Raisel Iglesias (3-3), who had blown only one save chance all season. Betts had fouled a ball off his foot on Friday night and missed one game. His double tied it 5-all, and he sprinted home on the still-sore foot - diving headfirst into the plate - on Rafael Devers' infield single.

"I felt he had a chance to beat it, and with me running it was going to be a tough play at the plate," Betts said.

Robby Scott (2-1) got the win, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 39 chances. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances.

Billy Hamilton helped the Reds go up 4-1. He tripled home a run and brought the crowd to its feet by scoring after getting caught in a rundown between first and second. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a wild throw, and Hamilton kept going when nobody covered home.

"In my whole career, that's one of the best ones, especially since I was in a rundown and just trying to get to second base and then I end up scoring," Hamilton said.

GOT THEIR BACKS

Red Sox and Reds players stood for the national anthem. Boston manager John Farrell said if any of his players decide to follow the example of other athletes and make a statement during the anthem, he'll support them. "We strive to create an environment that's inclusive," Farrell said. "We would have their back as an organization if that's the expression they chose. It's their constitutional right."

INTERLEAGUE

The Red Sox are 12-1 against the Reds all-time in the regular season and have won nine straight, their longest winning streak against any NL team since interleague play started in 1997. The Reds beat the Red Sox in seven games for the 1975 World Series championship. Overall, Boston is 16-4 in interleague play this season. The Reds are 5-15.

90 LOSSES AGAIN

The Reds reached the 90-loss mark for the third straight year. They lost 98 games in 2015 and 94 last year. It's the first time they've had three straight 90-loss seasons since 1930-34.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Eduardo Nunez ran the bases before the game, his next step in recovering from a sprained knee.

Reds: Hamilton was back in the lineup after getting a day off. He's played twice since returning from a broken left thumb.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (16-5) faces Blue Jays LHP Brett Anderson (1-2) on Monday night. Pomeranz is 7-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break.

Reds: After a day off, they finish with three games in Milwaukee and three at the Chicago Cubs. Deck McGuire (0-0) makes his first major league start Tuesday night against Zach Davies (17-9).

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