BOSTON -- Will Middlebrooks is close to a return.
That's coming from Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who spoke to Middlebrooks in his office on Saturday morning, along with the training staff.
The third baseman missed his fourth-straight game on Friday night with a hamstring injury, but has since taken ground balls and hit in the cage.
Valentine said, before the afternoon portion of Saturday's day-night double-header against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park, that the plan is for Middlebrooks to be 100 percent when they return from the All-Star break on Friday in Tampa Bay. He wouldn't rule out a pinch-hit appearance before this weekend's series is over.
"He hit for almost two innings in a game yesterday in the cage, and he felt nothing," said Valentine. "I'm always, with those pulled muscles, I always like to give them to a day after, if someone thinks that they feel fine.
"If he feels great today, I'm not sure. Some of the madness in not DL'ing him, was to have him ready coming out of the break, and not miss those five games on the other side of the break. But if he's perfect today, he could pinch-hit today, I think."
Mooke Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and a mix of Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart and Chris Young brought postgame celebrations to a new level last season.
Most Sox fans are familiar with the outfield victory "Win, Dance, Repeat" where the trio would dance and pretend to photograph the game's best player between them. The celebration ended with a pose at first, but as seen the MLB the Show 17's freshly released trailer, a few more wrinkes were added in.
In fact, here's a taste of the celebrations and what else to expect from Playstation's 2017 MLB game:
Carlos Beltran, the 39-year-old switch hitter who was a potential target of the Red Sox as a DH, agreed to a free-agent deal with the Houston Astros, ESPN's Buster Olney reported.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that it's a one-year, $16 million deal.
Beltran played for the Astros in 2004. He was dealt from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers at the July 31 trading deadline last season. He totaled 35 homers, 101 RBI and hit .295 in 2016.
The Red Sox, looking to fill the void left by David Ortiz's retirement, will be looking for a DH at the Winter Meetings that begin next week. One possibility is the return of Mike Napoli, who played for the A.L. champion Cleveland Indians last season.
More on the Winter Meetings here from CSN Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam.