Valentine on final game of the season at Fenway

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Valentine on final game of the season at Fenway

Bobby Valentine talked with the media after the Red Sox dropped their home finale to the Rays, 4-2.
Valentine looked at Jon Lester's start and how his bullpen fared Wednesday.
I said before the game he was on the bottom of his tank but he pitched great, he said. Who would have thunk it would be Carlos Pena against left-handers that beat us but I guess thats the way this seasons been going. He made really good pitches the whole night. The 2-1 pitch to Pena might have been in the sweet spot but he grounds out to second on the pitch a lot too. Gave us six innings, four hits, with a little more offense we might have been able to get him a win.

Kyle Kendrick will end up in rotation eventually

Kyle Kendrick will end up in rotation eventually

The Red Sox rotation appears set before their bullpen does, which is surprising given how many health questions developed with the starters over the course of the spring.

Kyle Kendrick, a minor league free agent signed over the winter, was reassigned on Tuesday -- cut from big league camp and sent to Triple-A Pawtucket. That doesn’t mean he can’t make the Red Sox if something goes wrong with Drew Pomeranz (or anyone else) between now and the regular season. 

But it’s a clear suggestion that the Red Sox have enough confidence in Pomeranz’s health that they see Kendrick beginning the year at Pawtucket.

“Any time you have something invasive, you're always kind of taking a wait-and-see approach,” Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida about Pomeranz. “I even mentioned to Dave [Dombrowski], I said, 'When's he getting through this,' I said, 'let's not even pay attention to the first three starts. Because he's going to go through some things where he's going to build up. He's going to probably get over some mental hurdles of wondering how's it going to feel, can I turn it loose? The delivery's going to have to be in sync like every other pitcher in spring training.' 

“And you know what? The last couple innings in start 3, it started to click a little bit more regularly for him. No pitcher's ever completely out of the woods, just based on the position, but you know what, he's making satisfactory steps toward the first start of the year.”

Kendrick might have to wait a little bit, but he should be the first man up if the Red Sox need a starting pitcher for more than, say, one spot start. He's to hang around the big league team at least through Thursday, when he has a start against the Nationals, his seventh spring start.

A 32-year-old righty who would make $1 million in a full season in the big leagues, Kendrick scrapped his four-seam heavy approach this year and is going back to the sinker-ball ways that made him successful in his time with the Phillies. He’s had throwing shoulder issues in the past, but has said all spring he’s healthy. That showed with 26 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA in 29 Grapefruit League innings.

He'll be around soon enough if he keeps it up at Triple-A Pawtucket.

The tricky thing with Kendrick is that once he’s on the big league roster, he can’t be sent back down to the minors without passing through waivers, meaning the Red Sox would risk losing him. 

So, if it’s just one spot start that’s needed, a guy like lefty Brian Johnson, who has options and is already on the 40-man roster, probably gets the nod over Kendrick. But any injury that leaves more of an unknown in recovery time, and Kendrick should have his crack.

Outfielder and first baseman Steve Selsky was optioned after Monday’s game. Add in Kendrick’s cut on Tuesday and the Sox have 36 technically remaining in big league camp, 31 from the 40-man roster.

Another burner for Brady: Kraft compares Cooks to Moss

Another burner for Brady: Kraft compares Cooks to Moss

PHOENIX -- For an indication of just how high the expectations sit for newly-acquired Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks, have a look at what team owner Robert Kraft said during the annual league meetings at the Biltmore on Monday. 

Asked about all the moves Bill Belichick and his front office have made this offseason, Kraft started with the former Saints big-play threat.

"I think what they've done is excellent this year," Kraft said. "And I know bringing this young man from New Orleans . . . since I've owned the team, the only player who could make an impact like that at wide receiver is Randy Moss. [Cooks] doesn't have [Moss'] height, but he's got his speed. I think that's complementary to what we have on the team. I'm excited about him joining us."

Cooks gives the Patriots one of the most dynamic pass-catching threats in the NFL and should provide an additional boost to an offense that ranked third in the league in points scored (27.6) in 2016. He is one of three players to record 75 catches, 1,000 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. The other two? Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.

Those are some big names, but Moss may be the biggest ever associated with Cooks. What Moss did when he arrived to New England in a trade with the Raiders in 2007 was historic, catching 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

As excited as Kraft is for Cooks' arrival, not even he will project a similarly gaudy statistical year. But he's clearly thrilled that Tom Brady will have yet another explosive receiving threat to pair with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and an impressive stable of pass-catching backs.