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05/02/2012 - 1:04pm
Olney: Sox 'aware' of trade interest in Youk

ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney made his weekly appearance with the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about Red Sox news involving Kevin Youkilis, Aaron Cook and Oil Can Boyd.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks has been tearing it up in the minors, but until the Sox decide what to do with the injury-plagued Youkilis, Middlebrooks might have trouble finding enough at-bats in Boston. Olney was asked what the market would look like if the Red Sox considered trading Youkilis.

"They have been exploring it, I think in the past. I'm not saying that they're aggressively there looking to dump his contract, but I think they're aware of potential interest," Olney said. "And I can tell you this for a fact: There are teams -- and I've spoken with evaluators of other teams -- as soon as Youkilis leaves the Red Sox, whether it's as a free agent at the end of this year or if they're willing to eat a lot of the money in this year's deal,...

05/02/2012 - 12:45pm
Beckett (lat) skipped, Cook starts Saturday

Josh Beckett will miss his next start on Saturday against the Orioles and righthander Aaron Cook will be promoted and take his place in the Red Sox rotation, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced before Wednesday's game. 

"Aaron Cook was retained by us. There was a question if we keep him, what do we do with him. And so what we're going to do is keep him, start him on Saturday, that will be in Josh's spot. Josh is just going to miss that one start, just to play it safe on the fact that he threw more pitches than he normally throws. And he had some right lat stiffness, tightness."

Beckett matched a career high by throwing 126 pitches on Sunday in a 4-1 loss to the White Sox. 

"There's a reason for everything and Aaron Cook gets a start and Josh gets more than just one day extra," Valentine said. "It's the next-day stiffness that was a little more than normal."

Valentine insisted he believes...

05/02/2012 - 12:33pm
Pettitte softens on Clemens HGH accusation

Andy Pettitte, testifying Wednesday in the trial of Roger Clemens in Washington, backtracked on his insistence that Clemens admitted to him that he used HGH. Asked by a defense lawyer it was fair to say it was 50-50 that Pettitte misunderstood what Clemens told him during their conversation in 1999 or 2000, Pettitte answered, "I'd say that's fair."

One day earlier, Pettitte testified that "Roger had mentioned to me that he had taken HGH," repeating a claim he made in a congressional deposition in 2008.

Pettitte, Clemens' former teammate with the Yankees and Astros, is important to the government's case as prosecutors try to prove that Clemens lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Pettitte, 39, is trying to make a comeback with the Yankees this year.

05/02/2012 - 12:09pm
NFL suspends Saints' Vilma for entire season

The NFL announced Wednesday that Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma will be suspended for the 2012 season and three other players also were punished for for conduct detrimental to the NFL as a result of their leadership roles in the Saints' pay-for-performance/bounty program that endangered player safety over the past three seasons.

Defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, now a member of the Packers, was suspended eight games. Defensive end Will Smith was suspended four games. Linebacker Scott Fujita, who signed with the Browns, will have to miss three games.

The players are allowed to participate in offseason activity, including preseason games, before the suspensions begin.

The players have three days to appeal the ruling, in which case they would get a hearing in front of commissioner Roger Goodell.

"In assessing player discipline, I focused on players who were in leadership positions at the Saints; contributed a particularly large...

05/02/2012 - 11:06am
Source: Red Sox to promote Aaron Cook

According to a major league source, the Red Sox are planning on promoting Aaron Cook to their major league 25-man roster. While the team did not summon him from the minors on May 1, thus giving him the right to request his release from his contract if not promoted to the majors within 48 hours of said request, the team does not plan on losing the 33-year-old via free agency. 

Instead, the team expects to call up Cook in the coming days. Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Cook had 24 hours to request his release if not promoted within the 48-hour window. But before the expiration of such a window, the team plans on adding Cook to its major league roster.

Manager Bobby Valentine said on Monday that Cook's role will be as a reliever, a role he hasn't performed regularly in since 2003. With Triple-A Pawtucket, Cook went 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts, pitching in 33 1/3 innings and holding opponents to a .217 batting average while allowing...

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