Sox may consider Cook in relief

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Sox may consider Cook in relief

CHICAGO -- Aaron Cook has an opt-out in his contract that allows him to become a free agent if the Red Sox haven't added him to their major league roster by May 1, and all along, it was presumed that the Sox would have to bump someone from their current rotation to make room for Cook.

Now, there may another path.

Bobby Valentine acknowledged that "there have been discussions'' about using Cook out of the Boston bullpen. That would allow the Sox to keep Cook and not displace anyone in the rotation.

Cook has a history of shoulder trouble and the Red Sox delayed his use in games for a bit this spring to give him additional time to build up strength in the shoulder.

"Bob McClure thinks, after talking to him, that it's feasible,'' said Valentine of the Red Sox pitching coach. "Initially, there was a non-consideration. But reports are that he hasn't felt this good about his shoulder in a long time.''

"That surprised me,'' admitted McClure of Cook's willingness to try pitching in relief, "because with Aaron's shoulder, the trainers did such a good job with him this spring, when I talked to him right before we broke (camp), he said he felt that he could pitch out of the bullpen. Before, I don't think he could have, physically -- got up, got down and up.

"He said his shoulder hadn't felt this way in three or four years. So, that being said, right before we broke camp, I asked him and he said he could. Now, it still remains to be seen. But if a guy tells you that, you've got to think maybe he could.''

McClure said he believes Cook's stuff could play well in relief, thought "it's not strikeout stuff; it's mis-hit stuff.''

Until Cook gets comfortable, McClure said the Sox would want to limit to clean innings and not bring him into a game in the middle of an inning.

"You'd try to bring him at first in a clean (inning),'' said McClure. "Matty (Albers) could come in and clean an inning up and then you'd have Cookie behind him.''

Asked if the Sox would like to see Cook pitch in relief in Pawtucket before asking him to do it in the big leagues, McClure, noting the calendar, said: "I don't know if we have enough time to do that.''

Cook is scheduled to start for Pawtucket tonight, his last outing before the May 1 opt-out day arrives.

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

One White House tradition will have to wait, if it’s in fact maintained.

President Donald Trump is not going to throw out a ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Nationals this season, according to the Washington Post.

Post reporter Barry Svrugula wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the White House declined an invitation from the Nats.

POLITICO reported early Tuesday morning that Trump was in talks to throw out the first pitch and that it was also possible he could spend an inning in the MASN booth.

President William Howard Taft began the custom of U.S. presidents throwing out a first pitch on April 14, 1910, at National Stadium in D.C.

According to The Week:

“Since Taft, every president not named Jimmy Carter has thrown out at least one Opening Day first pitch. The executive guests of honor followed in Taft's hefty footsteps, throwing the first ball from the stands, until the late 1980s when Ronald Reagan sauntered onto the mound and improved upon the tradition."

The most famous presidential pitch in recent memory is George W. Bush’s toss during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

The Nats open their season on Monday at home in Washington D.C., in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins. A Nationals Magic 8 Ball is to be given away to the first 20,000 fans.

The Red Sox happen to play the Nats in a pair of exhibitions right before the season, on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is at the Nats’ home park in D.C. Saturday’s game is to be played in Annapolis, Md., at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon...who's the starting catcher?

Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon...who's the starting catcher?

Evan Drellich talks with Toucher and Rich about who the starting catcher will be and should be for the Red Sox. Christian Vazquez appears to be all the way back from Tommy John surgery. Can he hit?