Notes: Beckett admits lat strain isn't new

May, 4, 2012
BOSTON -- Josh Beckett, who is being given extra time to recover from a strained lat, said Friday that he had been bothered by the issue before his start last Saturday in Chicago but hadn’t told the Sox.

“I wasn’t very smart about it,” said Beckett, who is 2-3 with a 4.45 E.R.A.

“It feels much better today than it did the day before my last start,” said Beckett, who threw from 90 feet on Friday. “I’m pretty optimistic for (being able to make) my next start (Wednesday in Kansas City). I will be fine, hopefully.”

Manager Bobby Valentine said he wished he had known about Beckett’s stiffness before sending him to the mound last Saturday.

“In retrospect, it would have been nice to know that,” said Valentine on Friday. “We have a system set up to have information flow and it seems like there was a little snag. It’s not up to him to come into the manager’s office, but he talks to the pitching coach and the trainers all the time and that information usually flows up.”

COOK CAN'T WAIT: Aaron Cook, the newest member of the Red Sox, held court in the Boston dugout after the team completed batting practice Friday.

The right-hander will make his first Red Sox appearance Saturday against the Orioles, filling in for Josh Beckett, who is skipping a start because of a strained right lat.

Cook had an opt-out clause in his contract that would have allowed him to leave Pawtucket and the Red Sox organization if his contract hadn’t been purchased by May 1. Cook’s performances for the PawSox (3-0 with a 1.89 earned-run average in five starts) persuaded Boston to promote him.

“There’s nowhere else I wanted to be the whole time. To make my first start here is unbelievable,” said Cook, 33, who spent the first 10 years of his career in Colorado and signed a minor-league contract this past offseason with Boston.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Cook has endured several injury-plagued seasons recently. A broken leg and a broken finger sidelined him, as have shoulder issues. Last season he was 3-10 with a 6.03 E.R.A. in 97 innings for the Rockies. He carries a 72-68 big-league record with a career 4.53 ERA into Saturday’s Red Sox debut.

“My shoulder last year to my shoulder this year, I can’t put it in the same category,” said Cook, giving credit to the Sox training staff and shoulder workout program.

“My consistency is much better. I’m not throwing much harder but I have confidence that if I make a pitch that it’s not going to hurt. It’s nice to be healthy and go out there and pitch. It’s a clean slate. The rest of my career is in front of me,” said Cook, who was the Rockies' second-round pick in 1997.

What he will be doing the rest of this season for the Sox, though, is a mystery. Saturday will be a spot start, and with Beckett due back to take his regular turn the next time through the rotation, Cook said he has no idea what the Sox will want him to do after Saturday. Manager Bobby Valentine has mentioned the option of going with a six-man rotation, but that isn’t a definite.

“There’s no decision about that. Whatever happens (after Saturday), I’ll be ready for that,” said Cook, who hasn’t pitched since starting for Pawtucket last Saturday.

NAGGING NECK: Daisuke Matsuzaka (Tommy John surgery) was scheduled to make another rehab start Friday night for the PawSox in Toledo, but a nagging neck injury prompted the Red Sox to delay the right-hander’s next outing until Monday in Pawtucket. Dice-K felt well enough to throw a bullpen session Friday. Valentine figured he would have two more rehab starts before his time on the DL is up and the Sox are forced to make a decision on whether to add Matsuzaka to Boston’s roster.



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