Cook returns from DL to face Braves, as Youkilis rumors swirl
(Sports Network) - Aaron Cook gets an emergency start this afternoon when the Boston Red Sox play the rubber match of their three-game interleague series against the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park.
Cook has been on the disabled list since suffering a large cut on his left knee while covering the plate on a passed ball during a loss in his Red Sox debut to Baltimore on May 5. He had allowed seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings of that one.
However, he's needed today after scheduled starter Clay Buchholz came down with an illness.
"We're playing that game of no expectation, let's see what he has when he gets here," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said of Cook.
Cook is 1-2 with a 5.18 ERA in 12 appearances against Atlanta, all as a member of the Rockies.
Atlanta, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Mike Minor, who is 3-5 with a 6.04 ERA. Minor's most recent loss came on Monday against the New York Yankees, as he surrendered four runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"He's plenty good enough to get through these lineups," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We've seen it in spurts. Now we just need to get him to rattle off four or five good starts in a row."
He has never faced the Red Sox.
Boston rookie Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia both had three hits on Saturday to lead the Red Sox to an 8-4 win.
Middlebrooks hit his ninth home run and knocked in a pair of runs for the Red Sox, who have won six of their last seven games. Pedroia also drove in two with a second-inning double.
Middlebrooks appears to have unseated Kevin Youkilis as the team's starting third baseman. Youkilis sat for a third straight game on Saturday, as trade rumors continued to swirl around him.
"A lot of home run hitters hit them in bunches," Valentine said of Middlebrooks. "You don't want to take him out of the lineup when he's hot."
Franklin Morales (1-1) picked up his first win in his second start of the season, after spending the beginning portion of the season in the bullpen. Morales went six innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and a walk. He also struck out eight for Boston, which lost Friday night's game against Atlanta, 4-1.
"He came out throwing strikes," said Valentine. "He was throwing strikes aggressively and mixing in the changeup. He wasn't afraid to throw that tonight."
Randall Delgado (4-8) had the shortest outing of his career, lasting only 1 1/3 innings after giving up four runs. He surrendered six hits and walked two before Boston chased the 22-year-old starter.
"When a young kid struggles with location, it snowballs on him fast, and it snowballed on him tonight," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said of Delgado's outing.
Boston took four of six from the Braves the last time these teams met back in 2009.