After scare, exam shows Middlebrooks' hand OK

After scare, exam shows Middlebrooks' hand OK
February 28, 2013, 2:00 pm
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BRADENTON, Fla. – The scare Will Middlebrooks put into the Red Sox Wednesday night had diminished by Thursday morning.  Middlebrooks left the game Wednesday night against the Orioles in Sarasota after a first-inning checked swing, holding his right hand, which was fractured on Aug. 10 when he was hit by a pitch, ending his rookie season.
Thursday morning, before the Sox played the Pirates, manager John Farrell said Middlebrooks came through his morning exam fine. Middlebrooks was examined by the team’s specialist, Dr. Tom Holovacs. Based on that exam , further testing -- X-rays or an MRI -- was not warranted, Farrell said.
“His exam this morning was benign,” Farrell said. “He didn’t feel any discomfort when he was put through a battery of tests. And he’s acutely been cleared for all baseball activity. But I’m sure he’s going to take today to let it rest. But given the way he came out after that swing, obviously very good news this morning
“He’ll be day to day I think until he takes [batting practice], which should be tomorrow. Our plan right now is that he would be able to go tomorrow. But we’ll just be sure that he comes through BP without any issue.
“At the time of the swing, it wasn’t real encouraging," Farrell said. "But given what he came through with the fracture a year ago, I can understand that he was little tentative and probably a little scared. So fortunately this morning things checked out ok.”
Given Middlebrooks’ immediate and emphatic reaction, it appeared the injury could have been much worse.
“It was an awkward swing,” Farrell said. “And if you look at what took place for a couple of guys on the first at-bat against [O’s righthander] Chris Tillman there were some very different swings on some fastballs up. First game at night, guys eyes aren’t adjusted to that. Just a late reaction on his part.”
The Sox are counting on Middlebrooks to be a key part of the middle of their lineup. In 75 games in 2012, he hit .288, with 15 home runs, 54 RBI, a .325 on-base percentage, and .509 slugging percentage.
“We’re talking about a guy that’s just in the early stages of what looks to be a very productive career,” Farrell said. “A 24-year old that can hit for power. He can hit for average. He certainly lengthens out our lineup with a right-handed power bat. We’re counting on him for north of 150 games, and barring injury that’s the type of player he is.”
Middlebrooks told reporters at the Sox complex Thursday morning that he would be fitted for a protective brace later in the day. Farrell said he believed the timing was just coincidental, that representatives from the Franklin equipment company were in camp to meet with all the position players.