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Red Sox may be in a pinch with 13 pitchers

Red Sox may be in a pinch with 13 pitchers

Red Sox may be in a pinch with 13 pitchers
BOSTON -- Aaron Cook's addition means the Red Sox are back to a 13-man pitching staff and a small, three-man bench. That will limit how much manager Bobby Valentine can play late-game matchups with opposing pitchers.

"We have a pretty short bench, and pinch-hitting isn't one of the real options that we're going to be dealing with here in the near future," Valentine said.

Valentine said he won't hesitate to use the day's backup catcher -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia starts against righties and Kelly Shoppach against lefties -- as a pinch-hitter, even though it leaves open the possibility of needing an emergency catcher.

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"I don't mind. As long as they can hit, yeah, I don't mind," Valentine said. "Tonight'll probably be the night, but the only time I caught was because three catchers got hurt. And I had one position player have to catch in 3,000 games that I've managed. We could get by if something crazy happened. One day."

Asked if Nick Punto would be the go-to backstop if Shoppach and Saltalamacchia were out, Valentine said it depended who was available.

Valentine also played with the lineup by debuting Will Middlebrooks in the No. 2 spot Friday against the Orioles, in the third baseman's second big league game. Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and strikeout in his debut Wednesday in a 4-2 loss to the A's.

"I asked if he ever hit second before, he said 'No,'" Valentine said. "[I] asked him, 'What are you going to do different?' He said, 'Nothing,' which is the right answer. I asked him, 'What do you think,' he says 'Let's go for it,' so he'll get his at-bats and we'll see how that looks here in this grouping. ... I liked his at-bats the other day, and to give him another at-bat might be a good thing. We'll see."

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