Middlebrooks lays down first career bunt

Middlebrooks lays down first career bunt
May 18, 2013, 1:30 am
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MINNEAPOLIS – Before Friday night, the last time Will Middlebrooks had recorded a sacrifice bunt was in 2008, his first professional season. A fact even Middlebrooks was not aware of.
 
“I really didn’t know,” he said. “I was going to say like high school maybe, but apparently it was in Lowell.”
 
Middlebrooks can add another to that list, with his first successful bunt in the major leagues. The bunt moved runners to second and third with one out in the 10th, setting up an intentional walk to Stephen Drew, and a sacrifice fly by Jonny Gomes, scoring the go-ahead run, in the Sox 3-2 win over the Twins.
 
Dustin Pedroia opened the inning with a single and David Ortiz walked, before Middlebrooks’ sacrifice bunt, on a 1-and-0 slider from Josh Roenicke.
 
“Well, the situation calls for it,” said manager John Farrell, of the somewhat unorthodox move. “We get the first two guys on, a base hit and a walk, and sitting there with a first and second, nobody out situation. Even though a middle-of-the-order type of guy [in Middlebrooks], we had to do what we could to move runners up 90 feet, knowing that they’d probably walk Stephen to give us a bases-loaded situation.
 
“And the way Jonny’s been locked in, I think as good against right-handers knowing that he’s been brought over here to face lefties. But we get the sacrifice fly, we manufactured the run.”
 
Although he was 0-for-4 in the game, Middlebrooks didn’t get the bunt sign on the first pitch, but he did get it for the second.
 
“Just anything in the general area,” he said, of the kind of pitch he was looking for. “Something I can get the bat on, because Pedey’s going to get  a good jump. He gets the sign, he knows I’m bunting. He’s going to get a sign, he’s going to get a jump, and it doesn’t really matter where I put it down.”
 
The bunt was successful. But, Middlebrooks admits it’s not something he spends a great deal of time perfecting.
 
“Not a whole lot,” he said. “I’m not one of those guys who’s going to drop many bunts down. So I thought about it during the last month or so, drop one down and try to steal a hit. But I really don’t work on it much, two or three bunts during BP and that’s about it.”
 
His three-run double was the difference Thursday night in the sox 4-3 win over the Rays in Tampa Bay. Which does he prefer, a three-run double, or a sacrifice bunt, that barely goes the distance of the pitcher’s mound?
 
“They’re both [equal],” he said. “I love them both. We won and I was just happy to contribute.”