BOSTON His major league debut went about as well as he could have hoped.In the starting lineup. Playing third base. Batting eighth. His parents in the stands. At Fenway Park.Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox highly valued prospect, was in la-la land, he said for the first few innings of Wednesday nights game against the As. Then it hit him that this is just another game.So he continued the pace he had been setting with Triple-A Pawtucket.Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base. The only other batter in the Red Sox lineup with as many as two hits was David Ortiz.The only downer to his night was the final score, as the Sox lost to the As, 4-2.It was unbelievable, Middlebrooks said. Words cant describe it. To come here to Fenway Park and to play with these guys. Its unreal.Middlebrooks walked on four pitches in his first career plate appearance in the second inning, then promptly stole second. He had an infield single in the fifth for his first career hit.Man, I wish I could get a real hit, he thought to himself after the hit. The next one was better.Indeed it was, as he doubled into the right field corner in the seventh, before striking out in the eighth. His batting average stands at .667, with a 1.000 slugging percentage, and .750 on-base percentage.Those numbers wont stay so lofty. But for one night, they sure look good.I wish we could be in there all celebrating and sharing the delight that hed really have if this were a victory, manager Bobby Valentine said. But this was a terrific game. He played nice defense. The walk, the hustle, the stolen base. He was one of the right-handed hitters to go with that cutter to right field.Did a good job.
Forget that cryptic Tweet to the Globe. David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, fans. At least not as a player.
"My playing time has already expired," Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, 'I'll play tomorrow.' Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency."
No one really thought he was contemplating a comeback, but last week he Tweeted this . . .
. . . and that raised hopes that he'd changed his mind.
Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.
Terms of the deals were not announced.
It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.