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05/02/2012 - 5:55pm
Valentine: Cook to start for Beckett Saturday

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."

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05/02/2012 - 5:02pm
Youkilis to DL with back injury

As part of a flurry of transactions, the Red Sox placed third baseman Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list due to a lower back injury. The stint will be retroactive to April 29.

Youkilis said that he is showing significant improvement on Wednesday after being virtually unable to do anything but stand in the on-deck circle as a decoy pinch-hitter on Tuesday. He said that the condition was one that "has been happening for a little bit of time now. Basically, what we've done, the last couple days have been bad. Trying to get through it. I've made great strides from yesterday to today. Things are going well, but they want to get a step ahead of it and try to get me as healthy as possible."

Youkilis said that he needed at least three or four additional days of no baseball activity, which helped lead to the decision to place him on the disabled list and replace Youkilis on the roster with Will Middlebrooks, who will bat eighth and play...

05/02/2012 - 4:54pm
Report: Gaffney returning to Patriots

Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who played in New England from 2006 through 2008, is close to signing a deal that would send him back to the Patriots. According to ESPN reporter Josina Anderson, Gaffney texted her Wednesday afternoon saying: "I'm going to the Patriots." Anderson added that Gaffney said he was "planning on signing a deal soon." (UPDATE, 5:12 p.m.: Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reports that Gaffney has agreed to a two-year deal.) The 31-year-old Gaffney, who was released by the Redskins last month, caught 85 passes for 1,059 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons with New England.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
 


05/02/2012 - 4:23pm
Source: Red Sox sign Mark Prior

The Red Sox have signed pitcher Mark Prior to a minor league deal, according to an industry source. The agreement was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

The 31-year-old Prior finished third in NL Cy Young balloting for the Cubs in 2003 following a season that saw the right-hander post an 18-6 record with a 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 211 innings pitched. A series of shoulder injuries quickly followed, however, and Prior hasn't thrown a pitch in the major leagues since 2006. He didn't pitch at any level from 2007 through 2009 and threw only 12 innings in each of the last two seasons while pitching for the Rangers and Yankees at the minor-league level.   

Prior worked out for the Red Sox in Fort Myers in April. The pitcher will remain in extended spring training for a few weeks while building arm strength before an assignment to an affiliate would be...

05/02/2012 - 4:22pm
Red Sox promote Middlebrooks, Mortensen

The Red Sox have promoted highly regarded third base prospect Will Middlebrooks to take the place of the ailing Kevin Youkilis. Middlebrooks was penciled in at eighth in the batting order and willl make his major league debut Wednesday night against the A's. 

"Unbelievable. This is something you work toward your whole life so it feels really good to be here," Middlebrooks told reporters in the Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday afternoon. "I worked to be here. I was ready when they called so I'm ready to go."

Middlebrooks batted .333 with nine homers and 27 RBIs in 24 games this season for Triple-A Pawtucket before Wednesday's call-up. 

"I was having a really productive year. I thought I had a lot of positive output, not only me but my teammates. We were playing really good baseball." 

The Red Sox have also called up righthander Clay Mortensen and he will be available in the bullpen. Mortensen was...

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