Middlebrooks essentially done for season, Ciriaco at third

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Middlebrooks essentially done for season, Ciriaco at third

CLEVELAND The worst fears were realized after rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks was plunked in the right wrist with a 96-mph fastball on Friday night. The stellar young Red Sox slugger will likely be gone for the rest of the regular season with a fractured right wrist, but hell visit with a Cleveland hand specialist to get a final verdict on the injury.

Valentine said theres a small chance Middlebrooks might come back before the end of the regular season, but hell be gone with the wrist injury for the balance of the final 48 games of the regular season. Its something that the Sox manager said theres really no upshot of given how surprisingly good the youngster has been for them this season.

Middlebrooks is hitting .288.325.509 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 267 at bats as an energizing rookie in the Sox mix.

He had a terrific run with us. Hes a terrific player. I dont think hell be back this year. He might for a short stint, but I couldnt be happier or more proud of what hes done developing into the player he is, said Valentine. Its a damn shame."

I see no silver lining in this."

Now the Sox will have to find a solution between new call-up Danny Valencia, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Aviles and Nick Punto over the balance of the season.

The Sox are hesitant to move Aviles away from shortstop where hes been excellent this year. It will also be interesting to see what they have in Valencia after Sox GM Ben Cherington made a prudent waiver deal for the ex-Twins third baseman. Ciriaco will get the Saturday night start at the hot corner for the first time with the Red Sox after a pair of shaky appearances there in spring training. Valencia was expected to arrive around 6 pm, and may not be added to the 25-man roster prior to Saturday nights tilt.

Valentine said hes confident Ciriaco can handle it after working diligently over there with infield coachthird base coach Jerry Royster during the course of the season.
Hes been working out there a lot. It wasnt a pretty look during spring training, but he hadnt worked there much prior to that. Royster feels confident that hes worked there enough and can handle it. Im totally on board with that thought.

Here is the Sox starting lineup Saturday against the Indians.

CF Ellsbury
LF Crawford
2B Pedroia
1B Gonzalez
RF Ross
C Saltalamacchia
DH Lavarnway
SS Aviles
3B Ciriaco

LHP Morales

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California. 

 

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."