Aaron Cook gets gash in leg patched up, returns to game

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Aaron Cook was spiked by Chris Davis on a play at home plate in the second inning Saturday, opening a gash just below his left knee, but he was allowed to continue in the game after going to the Red Sox clubhouse and getting patched up.

As Cook walked off the field with the trainer, Red Sox reliever Clayton Mortensen jogged in from the bullpen to take over on the mound. However, as Mortensen approached the mound, the Red Sox waved him into the dugout. Cook returned to the field within about five minutes, threw two warmup pitches and then got a groundout to end the second inning.

Cook, making his Red Sox debut, opened the game by getting three straight groundouts in the first. He allowed a pair of two-out singles in the second, and a passed ball that followed resulted in a run scoring and Cook’s injury as he was trying to cover home plate. As a result, the Red Sox were down 1-0 after 1 1/2 innings.

Update: Cook probably should have stayed in the clubhouse after the injury. Struggling to keep his sinker down, he gave up four runs before being pulled in the third inning and then was charged with two more after Mortensen came in. Adam Jones’ bomb off a hanging curve probably still hasn’t landed.

Joe Girardi won’t use Masahiro Tanaka in Game 7

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The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.

Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.

Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.

Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.