Patriots

Cook: 'Anything can happen'

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Cook: 'Anything can happen'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Aaron Cook may be a longshot to make the Red Sox' starting rotation at the beginning of the year, but he's busy thinking about building up arm strength and not the long odds he's facing.

Cook pitched four innings against the New York Yankees Thursday night, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out two and didn't walk a batter over 48 pitches.

"I felt really good,'' he said. "I was able to establish early strikes and get them swinging. I feel like I had good command of the strike zone all night.''

The veteran righty used his sinker effectively and recorded half of his 12 outs on the ground.

"It's worked really good,'' said Cook. "It's been going down rather than move to the right, it's a lot better. It's down below their (swing path) and when it's moving from side-to-side, they can usually stay on it and drive the ball.''

Cook also picked off two baserunners at first, showing a quick and deceptive move.

"Playing in the National League all those years, we worked really hard on controlling the running game,'' he said. "I took a lot of pride in being able to do that on my own. I look for opportunities to use my quick move and slide step.''

Cook's minor league pitching coach earlier in his career was current Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure and the two worked together developing a good pickoff move.

Signed to a minor league deal with a spring training invite, Cook is at something of a disadvantage since the Sox could easily stash him at Pawtucket to begin the season rather than having him in the rotation at the expense of someone already on the 40-man roster.

"I signed a minor league deal here,'' he said. "I knew that they had a couple of spots there were trying to fill and I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to come and prove myself. I want to go out there, show that I'm healthy and throw strikes, take us deep into games and make it be a hard decision for them to make.''

Slowed somewhat by shoulder issues early in camp, Cook got a delayed start. Where other candidates have made four or five outings, his start Thursday was just his third.

But he believes there's still time.

"There's still about two weeks,'' he said, ''still a lot of baseball left. Anything can happen. I'm just going to keep going out there when they give me the ball and hopefully I'm ready to go.''

Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent

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Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Falcons game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion/ankle)
LB Harvey Langi (back)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
WR Chris Hogan (ribs)
G Shaq Mason (shoulder)

ATLANTA FALCONS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
K Matt Bryant (back)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
OLB Vic Beasley Jr. (hamstring)
LB Jermaine Grace (hamstring)
LB Deion Jones (quadricep)
DE Takk McKinley (shoulder)
LB Duke Riley (knee)
WR Mohamed Sanu (hamstring)
DL Courtney Upshaw (ankle/knee)

Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?

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Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while still in disbelief at what happened to Gordon Hayward last night.

*Interesting piece on the connection between gambling and the NHL in Las Vegas where they’ve just kicked their new expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights.

*Would you like a Providence Bruins game-worn jersey and give to a great cause at the same time? Here are the Pink the Rink Bruins jerseys up for auction on eBay with the money earmarked for cancer research and treatment.

*Some interesting stuff from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman in his 30 Thoughts about the start that Malcolm Subban is off to with the Vegas Golden Knights and whether that’s in any way a reflection on the way goalies are being developed with the Bruins.

*So, the Ottawa Senators clearly didn’t miss Erik Karlsson given the start that they got off to, but there’s no doubt hockey fans did as he makes his return from offseason surgery.

*Nikita Kucherov just keeps on improving for the Tampa Bay Lightning after a Hart Trophy-level season last year.

*For something completely different: I don’t understand why there’s anything controversial about somebody saying In ‘N Out Burger is overrated. While it’s a perfectly fine West Coast fast food chain, it is absolutely overrated at this point. The fries are average at best, and the burgers are merely okay compared to all of the other burger joints out there.