Bobby Valentine made his weekly appearance on The Big Show Wednesday and was asked about the future of Aaron Cook. Cook reportedly requested his release on May 1 -- which was an option in his contract -- but the Red Sox also had a 48-hour window after May 1 to recall the veteran right-hander. And, according to Valentine, Cook will indeed pitch for the Sox this weekend at Fenway against the Orioles.
"Aaron Cook is going to pitch Saturday," Valentine said. "He's going to start in Josh Beckett's turn because, as we all know, that 15-pitch at bat to end Josh's last outing kind of overextended what anybody planned for him to do. To be safe as we can possibly be, talking to Josh he's a little stiff in his back muscles as you would imagine after the last start, and considering the roster situation with Cook it seems to all fall into place. Aaron can pitch Saturday and Josh just misses that start and comes back in his next start."
Beckett matched a career-high with 126 pitches in his last outing on April 29, a 4-1 loss to the White Sox. The final batter he faced in that game was Brent Lillibridge, walking Lillibridge on 12 pitches.
Valentine later clarified that Beckett was dealing with "some right lat stiffness, tightness," but the manager insisted Beckett will only need to miss this one start and should be back in the rotation after skipping the weekend start against Baltimore.
"Oh absolutely," Valentine said. "I don't think there's any concern about him making his next start or even, if he could've with the extra day, make this start, but it would've been a situation we would've had to watch carefully, so no need."
As for how Cook will be used going foward, Valentine said he prefers not to commit to any long-range plan, though he did allow that the sinkerballer might be in line for more than one start given that the Red Sox begin a stretch of 20 games in 20 days on Friday.
"I don't think there's any need to really project anything further than this Saturday," Valentine said. "We'd like to see him in a Red Sox uniform and in the big leagues and take it from there. We have 20 [straight] games going now, I'm not opposed to having more than five starters going, depending on how the starters are pitching."