Friday: Middlebrooks at third; Youkilis sits

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Friday: Middlebrooks at third; Youkilis sits

BOSTON After Will Middlebrooks went 3-for-4 with a two-run, game-tying home run, and four RBI, raising his average to .316, manager Bobby Valentine was asked if a player can earn more playing time with his performance.

I think thats a fact of the game that we play, Valentine said.

It is a fact of his lineup for Fridays game. Middlebrooks is starting at third base, batting sixth, with Kevin Youkilis, who is batting just .225, on the bench.

Today Im riding the hot hand, Valentine said. Tomorrow might not be the case. I always reserve the right to change my mind.

Valentine said he discussed the situation with Youkilis, and believed Youkilis understood his decision.

He doesnt necessarily totally agree with it and wake up in the morning and hope that thats the case but I think the professional person that Kevin is understands it, Valentine said.

With interleague play coming to an end and with Sox outfielders getting back to health, Valentine was asked if he foresees Adrian Gonzalez continuing to play in right field.

Well take it day by day but if I had my druthers hed stay at first, Valentine said. The reason he didnt, I think, was because of necessity.

That arrangement would further limit playing time for Youkilis, whose name has swirled in trade rumors.

Pomeranz 'pretty comfortable' with potential move to bullpen

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Pomeranz 'pretty comfortable' with potential move to bullpen

NEW YORK -- If Drew Pomeranz is going to be part of the Red Sox' postseason plans, the team will likely have a better idea about that question by Thursday afternoon.

Pomeranz, who was scratched from his final scheduled start on Thursday because of soreness in his left forearm and general concern about his 2016 workload, will throw a 30-35 pitch bullpen.

If he responds well, he could then see some relief action over the final weekend at Fenway to determine his readiness for the playoffs.

"Before we even begin to map out a potential relief appearance over the weekend,'' said John Farrell, "we've got to get through that next step.''

Pomeranz pitched well in his last start at Tropicana Field over the weekend, but has been dealing with some discomfort in his forearm.

"I've had some soreness here, late in the year,'' Pomeranz said. "I've thrown more innings than I have ever (before), so we kind of sat down and talked about the best course of action the rest of the way.''

Pomeranz described what he felt as "just some soreness, probably from never covering this time of the year. It's a spot I've never been in before. We just decided the best thing to do was not making this last start and talk about maybe sliding into the bullpen.''

The lefty is no stranger to the bullpen, having pitched there as recently as last season while with Oakland.

"I've had the benefit of doing pretty much everything (in terms of roles),'' he said. "I'm pretty comfortable in any situation. If they see me helping there, obviously, that's where I want to be. But I don't know if it's a sure thing. We'll have to see how it goes.''

Meanwhile, another sidelined starter, Steven Wright, is expected to rejoin the team in Boston Friday. Wright threw a bullpen off the mound earlier this week in Fort Myers as he attempts to come back from inflammation in his shoulder.

 

Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

The Red Sox try again to nail down the A.L. East crown tonight, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against the Yankees while needed just one victory -- or one Toronto defeat -- to clinch the division.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Brock Holt 3B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
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Clay Buchholz P

YANKEES:
Brett Gardner LF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Gary Sanchez C
Brian McCann DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Didi Gregorious SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Mason Williams RF
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Bryan Mitchell P