Valentine: Cook 'pitched pretty well'

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Valentine: Cook 'pitched pretty well'

OAKLAND -- It probably wasn't realistic for Aaron Cook to match what he did in his last start. But even though Cook's performance wasn't as good as last Friday in Seattle, he wasn't to blame for the Red Sox' 3-2 defeat.
Fresh off an 81-pitch complete-game shutout, Cook was more human Wednesday against the Oakland A's, allowing three runs on six-plus innings of work.
Cook gave up a solo homer to Brandon Moss in the second, a run in the sixth that was set up when Mike Aviles lost a ball in the sun, and a third run in the seventh when Andrew Miller allowed an inherited runner of Cook's to score.
"Aaron pitched pretty well,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "He did what he had to do to give us a victory. A couple of balls were hit in the air that hurt him a little. But he got a lot of ground balls, was efficient with his pitching, got us in the dugout quick. We just didn't help him out with the runs.''
"We got some runs early (one in the fourth and another in the sixth to go ahead 2-1) and I just couldn't hold the lead,'' Cook said. "I left some pitches up. When guys have to chase it in the gap or watch them go over the fence, I'm usually not quite on my game.''
Last Friday at Safeco Field, Cook got 15 outs on the ground; on Wednesday, he had 13 in the first six innings, but the sinker wasn't as consistent and when he made mistakes with his two-seam fastballs, the A's took full advantage.
"There were four or five that I left up,'' he said. "They're an aggressive team and they hit those. The ones I was getting down, they were hitting down and some of them got through for base hits. But with a team like that, I'm pitching to contact and when you leave it up, they're going to hit it pretty hard and that's what happened.''
In particular, Cook regretted throwing a sinker to Coco Crisp, who lashed a triple to right center and would come around to score the winning run after Cook was lifted.
"Bad pitch,'' concluded Cook. "Looking back, hindsight's always 20-20, but I should have thrown anything but the pitch I threw. I could have thrown a cutter, bounced a curve ball...anything. But with tpye of approach, a sinker in, he's going to stay on that. It was just a bad pitch.''

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.