Middlebrooks makes his debut at second base

Middlebrooks makes his debut at second base
August 21, 2013, 9:30 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO - John Farrell wanted to give Dustin Pedroia some time off in a one-sided game, so he inserted Xander Bogaerts at third base in the bottom of the seventh and shifted Will Middlebrooks from third to second.
With Brock Holt optioned to Pawtucket earlier this week to make room for Bogaerts, the Red Sox no longer have an experienced backup second baseman but Farrell figured Middlebrooks could handle it.
"We know he's a good athlete,'' said Farrell. "When we've taken a look at him, not only at first base but when we put him on the pull side for the left-handers in the shift, we felt he was the logical choice to put at the position. He played it for the three innings of work and did flawlessly.''
The last time Middlebrooks played the middle of the infield was high  school. Until Wednesday, he had never played second base at any level.
After his seventh inning at-bat, Middlebrooks grounded out, he saw Farrell motion to him with two fingers, signaling that he was going to second in the bottom of the inning.
"I thought I misunderstood him,'' said Middlebrooks with a chuckle. "He looked at me and [held up two fingers]. I didn't know what he was talking about. I had to run up and get a different glove.''
Middlebrooks chipped in with a two-run homer and is now hitting .441 (15-for-34) with two homers and seven RBI in 10 games.
"I'm just more comfortable,'' explained Middlebrooks. "Everyone wants to say I've changed my approach. I haven't really changed my approach. I'm just more consistent. You get confidence when you get results. I started to get
some knocks and my confidence started going up.''
"In the box, he's a little bit more squared up with his stance,'' said Farrell. "It's allowed him to stay through the middle of the field and have plate coverage to the outside part of the plate. I think before he went down, in addition to pressing a little bit, he might have been pulling off some pitches a little bit more. I think he's back to where he was last year, for the time he was here.''