3B shuffle: Youk sits; Middlebrooks starts


3B shuffle: Youk sits; Middlebrooks starts

CHICAGO -- Will Middlebrooks was in the starting lineup Saturday night in place of Kevin Youkilis as Bobby Valentine continues to juggle playing time for the two.

"It's very difficult to have a real plan for all this stuff,'' said Valentine. "I'm just going to try to keep (Middlebrooks) relatively fresh.

Youkilis was 0-for-4 Friday, and has just three hits since the start of the last homestand. But several of the outs he made Friday in the Red Sox' 3-0 loss to the Cubs were hard-hit, giving Valentine some hope that the results will soon improve.

"It seems like it's always so close,'' said Valentine. "Every game, there's an at-bat that looks like a (real) Youk at-bat. Again, the results don't match up.''

Meanwhile, Middlebrooks has been sitting some over the last two weeks, but Valentine said that can be useful in a young player's development.

"It's a checklist,'' said Valentine. "Because he's in the clubhouse, hearing guys like (Dustin) Pedroia saying, 'When I came up, I didn't do very well and I didn't get to play,' and this other guy is saying, 'I had to do this and wait for a good matchup before I got in there and then make the best of it.' It's part of a major league checklist. He's taking care of that.''

Valentine said the logjam is workable.

"Every other team is doing the same thing,'' he said. "Every other team has a position or two where it's the exact same thing. And you know what? They're doing fine.''

Asked if it were possible for both players to play below their capabilities because of the irregular playing time, Valentine said: "Maybe. Or they could both be more productive than you could ever imagine. Anything's possible, isn't it?''

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason


Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015. 

Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B


Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

Closing in on the A.L. East title, the Red Sox look to make it 10 wins in a row tonight when they play the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.

Right hander Rick Porcello (21-4, 3.08 ERA) goes for his 22nd win for the Red Sox, opposed by Rays right-hander Matt Andriese (8-7, 4.41). Porcello is coming off a complete game victory in Baltimore.

The Red Sox began the day with a magic number of four to clinch the A.L. East with eight games to play. They could clinch a wild-card spot tonight with a victory and a Baltimore Orioles loss. 

Brock Holt starts at third base and Chris Young is in left field for Boston.

The lineups:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Brock Holt 3B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Rick Porcello RHP 

Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller 1B
Corey Dickerson LF
Nick Franklin DH
Mikey Mahtook RF
Alexi Ramirez SS
Curt Casali C
Matt Andriese RHP