Cook: 'Anything can happen'

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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.''

Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy

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Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy

LOS ANGELES - Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored their 26th goals of the season, and the Boston Bruins improved to 5-1-0 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy with a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Anton Khudobin made 27 saves in his second start since Christmas for the Bruins, who nursed an early lead to their first win in Los Angeles since March 24, 2012.

Pastrnak punctuated a strong all-around game with his seventh power-play goal of the season early in the second period. Dominic Moore ended his 26-game goal drought with an empty-net score, and David Krejci added another empty-netter with 7.2 seconds left.

Kevin Gravel scored his first NHL goal and Peter Budaj stopped 21 shots for the Kings, who have lost six of eight.

Paul George on trade talks: 'Thought I’d be in the loop a little more'

Paul George on trade talks: 'Thought I’d be in the loop a little more'

After a lot of speculation ahead of the trade deadline, Paul George is still a member of the Indiana Pacers.

Meeting with the media at Thursday's practice, George addressed the rumors, but sounded a bit frustrated about not being “in the loop” in regards to trade talks. 

“I was kind of on the ropes just like you guys were on what was about to happen,” George told reporters, per Clark Wade of the Indianapolis Star. “It’s kind of a dark moment, a lot of uncertainty. That was the frustrating part. You want me to be your guy here, thought I’d be in the loop a little more.”

The Celtics were one of the teams who were reportedly interested in George, but on the CSN Trade Deadline Special, Chris Mannix said the C's “weren’t really close” to landing the All-Star.

George, 26, will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season.