Apr 24, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett (19) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
It's been a busy day for the Red Sox with roster moves galore. Kevin Youkilis is on the disabled list, Lars Anderson is in the minors, and Will Middlebrooks and Clayton Mortensen have joined the team to replace them.
Aaron Cook will not be far behind Middlebrooks and Mortensen, either. According to Bobby Valentine, speaking earlier today on WEEI, Aaron Cook will be added to the team shortly in order to start Saturday's game in place of Josh Beckett.
Apparently suffering from some minor "stiffness" in his lat following his last start, Josh Beckett will take Saturday off to be safe. Now, what could possibly have caused this? How about throwing 126 pitches in one of Bobby Valentine's most recent Grady Little performances (with a side of Dusty Baker)? It could just be a coincidence, but it's hard to imagine that it helps to throw quite so many over what is generally excepted to be a safe number of pitches.
Hopefully Jon Lester isn't next up. He was made to throw 123 in his last start.
Also on WEEI today was Buster Olney, who indicated that the Red Sox are "aware" of the potential trade market for Kevin 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, there's going to be a lot of interest in him.
While this wouldn't be a blockbuster sort of deal given the place where Youkilis is at now, it would be a significantly easier deal to get done than it had been with Mike Lowell two years ago.
It seems hard to imagine Kevin Youkilis as primarily a salary dump, but the scenario isn't unthinkable. If Will Middlebrooks performs well, and if Kevin Youkilis doesn't come back strong after his DL stint, then the Sox would be hard pressed to keep Youkilis on as a bench bat.
This is the team that dumped its starting shortstop in Marco Scutaro over the offseason for salary concerns. With the ability to spend in the trade deadline perhaps meaning the difference between a playoff run and another season of disappointment, it's not too surprising to know that the Sox have at least had their ears to the ground.
In other news, Jon Heyman says the Red Sox have signed a pitcher!
Actually, calling Prior a pitcher at this point is something of a stretch. Not having made a major league appearance since 2006, and only throwing twelve innings in each of the last two years with the Yankees and Rays.
Still, signing Prior can't actually hurt. At least not the Red Sox. Prior has been hanging around in Ft. Myers for a while now, having apparently been spotted down there in a Sox uniform, and also per Heyman 'looks good" for whatever it's worth.
Probably a nothing move, but worth noting.
Larish, 29, managed to make his way to the majors a few years back, but couldn't stick in either Detroit or Oakland. He'll serve to keep everyone else in the minor leagues in their proper places as the rosters get shifted around to adjust to Will Middlebrooks' promotion.