Cook: 'Anything can happen'


Cook: 'Anything can happen'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Aaron Cook may be a longshot to make the Red Sox' starting rotation at the beginning of the year, but he's busy thinking about building up arm strength and not the long odds he's facing.

Cook pitched four innings against the New York Yankees Thursday night, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out two and didn't walk a batter over 48 pitches.

"I felt really good,'' he said. "I was able to establish early strikes and get them swinging. I feel like I had good command of the strike zone all night.''

The veteran righty used his sinker effectively and recorded half of his 12 outs on the ground.

"It's worked really good,'' said Cook. "It's been going down rather than move to the right, it's a lot better. It's down below their (swing path) and when it's moving from side-to-side, they can usually stay on it and drive the ball.''

Cook also picked off two baserunners at first, showing a quick and deceptive move.

"Playing in the National League all those years, we worked really hard on controlling the running game,'' he said. "I took a lot of pride in being able to do that on my own. I look for opportunities to use my quick move and slide step.''

Cook's minor league pitching coach earlier in his career was current Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure and the two worked together developing a good pickoff move.

Signed to a minor league deal with a spring training invite, Cook is at something of a disadvantage since the Sox could easily stash him at Pawtucket to begin the season rather than having him in the rotation at the expense of someone already on the 40-man roster.

"I signed a minor league deal here,'' he said. "I knew that they had a couple of spots there were trying to fill and I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to come and prove myself. I want to go out there, show that I'm healthy and throw strikes, take us deep into games and make it be a hard decision for them to make.''

Slowed somewhat by shoulder issues early in camp, Cook got a delayed start. Where other candidates have made four or five outings, his start Thursday was just his third.

But he believes there's still time.

"There's still about two weeks,'' he said, ''still a lot of baseball left. Anything can happen. I'm just going to keep going out there when they give me the ball and hopefully I'm ready to go.''

Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida


Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida

Tiger Woods, recovering from his fourth back surgery in the last three years, was arrested on DUI charges Monday morning in Jupiter, Fla.

Woods, 41, is the winner of 79 PGA tournaments in his career (including 14 majors). He was stopped this morning at around 3 a.m. and booked at 7:18 a.m. He was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

Physical problems have plagued Woods in recent years, but he said last week "unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again." However, he will need months to recover from his most recent surgery.

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Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.