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.
Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.