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?''

Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists


Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists

Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.

The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.

Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.

The full list of finalists is here.  The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.

Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.