Cherington: Youkilis will play third upon return


Cherington: Youkilis will play third upon return

KANSAS CITY -- Rookie Will Middlebrooks has made an instant splash in his first week in the big leagues, belting three homers and knocking in nine RBI in the span of the last two games.

But when injured third baseman Kevin Youkilis returns from the disabled list, Youkilis will reclaim his starting job, according to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.

"If Youk returns in a week and is ready to go, he plays third base," said Cherington. "He's been here. It's great that Will has come up and done a good job and we like him a lot and he's a big part of our future. But Youk's on the DL and he didn't lose his job because he got hurt."

Youkilis is eligible to come off the DL next Monday, May 14, when the Sox begin a two-game series at home with Seattle.

Middlebrooks is hitting .381 with three homers and nine RBI in four games. He has at least one extra-base hit in each of his first four games and has an OBP of .409 and a slugging percentage of .952.

But the Sox aren't about to cast Youkilis aside based on the first week of Middlebrooks' career, even if the rookie already has more extra-base hits (six) in 21 at-bats than Youkilis had (four) in 64 at-bats.

Manager Bobby Valentine was asked about the possibility of working Middlebrooks out at another position -- perhaps left field -- as a way of finding a way to keep him in the lineup with Youkilis reclaiming third.

"I don't know," said Valentine. "It's been tossed around in some quarters. He's a good third baseman. I think he'll have his growing pains -- understanding speed of the runner and field conditions. (But) his hands are good and his arm is strong enough."

Valentine said converting third basemen to corner outfielders is a risky proposition.

"I've seen it not work," said Valentine. "I've tried some, early on. Dean Palmer. (Middlebrooks) is more fleet, runs a little better than a lot of third basemen, which might give him a little upside (elsewhere). But it's a little different. It hasn't been a table discussion yet, so I don't think it has to enter his domain."

"We haven't talked about that," said Cherington. "We like him at third base. We have to be a little careful about moving guys around in the middle of the season without a full spring training to work on things. We haven't discussed that. We've got to get Youk back first before that's a decision we'd have to make."

Valentine was unsure whether Youkilis would go out on a brief rehab assignment when he's ready to be activated.

"I don't know," he said. "Either way. However he feels. No one knows Youk like Youk, so we'll ask his advice."

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels


Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels:


* “He just had very good command the entire night. Stayed ahead in the count [and] pitched to all quadrants of the strike zone. He used his four-seamer in on some powerful right-handed hitters in their lineup.” John Farrell on Rick Porcello’s performance.

* “We needed a win bad and swung the bats well and played good defense. That’s a big win for us.” Rick Porcello said after his win in an interview with NESN.

* “24 hours ago we were probably in a much different place mentally after a ball game like tonight.” Farrell on the win.

“That was probably the first time I sat on off-speed pitches this whole year. I took a chance, took a gamble.” Jackie Bradley Jr. said on his home run.


* Rick Porcello completed his first game in a Red Sox uniform in the 6-2 win. The CG was the fifth of his career and his first since he threw three in 2014. The righty has 14 wins, one win shy of tying his career high.

* Xander Bogaerts had his first multi extra-base hit performance of the season since June 11. He’s only done that twice this season. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

* David Ortiz logged his 85th RBI of the season in the win and Mookie Betts his 67th. Heading into Friday night’s game, the two were one of five pairs of teammates ranking in the top 20 in RBI. The list includes Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

* Dustin Pedroia has now reached base safely in 32 straight games.


1) Rick Porcello

Porcello had his first complete game in a Red Sox uniform, stopping Boston’s losing skid at four games.

2) Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts finished with a double and a home run -- the only Boston hitter with multiple hits. He also led the Red Sox with three RBI and scoring twice in the win.

3) Dustin Pedroia

In addition to walking in his first two at-bats, Pedroia had a base hit -- and another walk -- scoring twice on the night.

First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels


First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 win over Los Angeles:

Rick Porcello is not fazed by his fellow staff members’ struggles.

Although his teammates continue to deal with frustrations on almost a nightly basis, Porcello got the job done and put Boston in a position to win once again.

The second-inning double by Daniel Nava should have been a single, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not misplayed a funny hop. If that hit is a single, the next ground ball is a double -- and the following grounder ends the inning.

One of the most impressive components of his outing was dealing with Cole Kalhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to finish his outing after already facing them three times on the night.

Xander Bogaerts had his first multi-hit game in a week.

Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a long time -- but that can feel like a long time given the shortstop’s output this year.

It was also his first multi extra-base hit performance since June 11.

Oddly enough, those are his only two games of that kind this season.

In addition to the win, Porcello did the bullpen a favor.

Not necessarily because the relievers needed rest, but with Ziegler’s last two rough nights, they could use a break.

Although Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz got warm late, it was more so to keep them fresh for the coming games since they haven’t thrown much.

Additionally, he gave an example for the Red Sox starting rotation that they are in fact capable of going the distance.

Tim Lincecum is barely a shell of what he used to be.

That first inning was hard to watch. The former Cy Young Award-winner threw eight straight balls, and somehow managed to work past. Even his final throw to first base in he opening frame looked like it was going off the mark.

Just hard to watch in general, which made it all the more shocking that the Red Sox couldn’t score against him.

Good for them that he never adjusted, and they took advantage of it in the ensuing innings.

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.