Red Sox News & Notes – 7/17

Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Chicago White Sox reacts to the fans before his first at bat against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park July 16, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.

In what started out as an emotional night with Kevin Youkilis returning to the only place he’s called home, it ended on the better side of things for the Boston Red Sox.

Aaron Cook was strong for seven innings but didn’t factor in the decision as Adrian Gonzalez‘s three-run homer helped the Red Sox to a 5-1 over the Chicago White Sox in front of 38,334 at Fenway Park. It was the largest crowd this season at the Fens. And that wasn’t probably a coincidence with Youk returning.

Youk definitely did his best to come out a winner for the first time in an opposing uniform. He was single handedly responsible for the only White Sox run of the game.

After his rousing ovation, Youk laced a single to center. With the shift on, Adam Dunn grounded out to second but Youk continued running to third with Will Middlebrooks not covering the bag because of the shift. Adrian Gonzalez tried to lead WMB with the throw but it was incomplete and went to left field allowing Youk to score.

Cook held the White Sox to five hits on the night. Youk was responsible for three of them. He added doubles in the 3rd and 6th innings but was left stranded there both times.

Even with the hot and humid weather, Cook worked quickly on the mound. He pounded the strike zone all night long with his sinker as he threw 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Vicente Padilla followed Cook with a 1-2-3 inning while Alfredo Aceves worked the 9th with just a walk.

Gonzalez actually knocked in four runs on the night. His RBI single in the 1st inning scored Carl Crawford, who was making his 2012 debut. His home run in the 8th inning came after White Sox reliever Leyson Septimo had walked Crawford and David Ortiz. Mike Aviles knocked in Cody Ross for the final run of the night.

It was a nice return for Crawford as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Given Youk’s return to the Fens, it probably made his debut a little bit easier as I’m sure some might not have even noticed.

With the exceptions of Youk (trade) and Dustin Pedroia (disabled list), this was seven of the nine guys we expected to see when the Red Sox opened up the season. And with Pedroia returning on Thursday, as long as the team can stay healthy, it could go places.

I said stay healthy because Big Papi injured himself while running hard on Gonzo’s blast in the 8th. He was only running hard because there’s always that chance it hits the Green Monster. But it didn’t and when he realized that he slowed up. But as he hit the second base bag, he slowed up.

Skipper Bobby Valentine said after the game that Papi had injured his heel and should only miss a few games. He is scheduled for an MRI today and hopefully it shows nothing major.

The Red Sox are just finishing putting the band together finally. We want it to stay that way.

We’ll be back later with today’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let’s take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

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Powerful stuff [boston globe]

Cook finds quick recipe for success [boston globe]

Youkilis comfortable in new Sox [boston globe]

Crawford happy to be back [boston globe]

Ortiz injures Achilles’ tendon [boston globe]

Youkilis returns with only fond Red Sox memories [boston globe]

Adrian Gonzalez hits clutch home run as Red Sox win [boston herald]

David Oritz pulls up lame [boston herald]

Aaron Cook gets job done again with keen efficiency [boston herald]

Kevin Youkilis in no mood to feud [boston herald]

Carl Crawford helps out in return [boston herald]

Gonzalez power returns, too [csn new england]

Another solid outing from Aaron Cook [csn new england]

Crawford gets off to a good start [csn new england]

Ortiz the latest to go down with injury [csn new england]

Youkilis gets everything but a win [csn new england]

Youkilis doesn’t look back in anger [csn new england]

Notebook: Lillibridge designated for assignment [csn new england]

Crawford ‘nervous’ but happy to be back [csn new england]

Gonzo’s HR drought ends at the right time [csn new england]

Nava sticks; Lillibridge designated [espn boston]

Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 5, White Sox 1 [espn boston]

Cook finds way to sink White Sox [espn boston]

Bard yields two-run homer for PawSox [espn boston]

David Ortiz of Boston Red Sox injures heel in bizarre fashion, needs MRI [espn boston]

Kevin Youkilis doesn’t understand talk of ‘this big rift’ with Bobby Valentine [full count]

Closing Time: Adrian Gonzalez blasts Red Sox past White Sox [full count]

Short-order Cook: Aaron Cook makes his place in Red Sox history [full count]

Adrian Gonzalez: Red Sox prove (for one night) lefty bats vs. lefty pitching ‘doesn’t matter’ [full count]

Kevin Youkilis shown the love but Aaron Cook and Red Sox win the game [full count]

Will Middlebrooks Used ‘Mom’s Cooking’ to Overcome Injury, Credits Kevin Youkilis With Development (Video) []

Kevin Youkilis Recognizes Support From Boston Fans in Return to Fenway Park (Video) []

Robin Ventura Happy to Have Kevin Youkilis on Board, Recognizes His Immediate Impact on White Sox (Video) []

David Ortiz’s Potential Injury Comes at Worst Possible Time for Red Sox Lineup So Close to Reaching Full Strength []

Aaron Cook Masters Veteran Art of Pitching to Contact []

Kevin Youkilis Reminds Red Sox of Old Contributions in Return to Fenway, Despite New Uniform []

Kevin Youkilis Reflects on Return to Fenway, Grateful For Support He’s Received (Video) []

David Ortiz Injury Not Too Serious, Could Cause Lineup Problems For Red Sox (Video) []

Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney Prepare to Adjust to New Roles as Outfield Picture Gets Crowded []

Carl Crawford Uplifted by Hitting Higher in Batting Order, Capitalizes on Chance to Contribute []

Ross, Ortiz admit extra motivation facing former squads [projo sox blog]

What do the Sox have in Aaron Cook? [projo sox blog]

Ortiz hurt running bases, to have MRI []

Adrian’s three-run HR defeats Youkilis, White Sox []

Source: Sox not actively pursuing Dempster [alex speier –]

Why a Ryan Dempster deal doesn’t make sense for the Red Sox [alex speier –]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, be sure to head over to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and ESPN Chicago websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: Getty Images