Middlebrooks pinch-hit homer a bright spot in loss

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Middlebrooks pinch-hit homer a bright spot in loss

BOSTON If there was a silver lining to be scraped from the Red Sox 6-3 loss to the Rangers at Fenway Park Tuesday night, it was Will Middlebrooks pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning, accounting for all the Sox runs.

With two outs, Ryan Kalish on first after reaching on an error, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on second after a single to right, Middlebrooks pinch hit for Nick Punto.

On the first pitch, an 85-mph slider, Middlebrooks launched a laser into the first row of Monster seats in left field, slicing the Sox deficit to one run, 4-3.

But the satisfaction was not immediate. Initially, it appeared a fan reached over to pull the ball in. The umpires convened on the field, deciding to review the play. After several minutes seeming to take longer than most home run reviews the umpires emerged from the visitors dugout (which allows access to the video review equipment) with the decision.

The home run stands.

It also ended the night for Rangers right-hander Ryan Dempster.

Middlebrooks had no doubt his blast would survive the review.

Oh, I knew, he said.

It was Middlebrooks 14th home run of the season, his first as a pinch-hitter, and the Sox fourth of the season from a pinch-hitter.

When youre not starting, about the sixth inning you start getting ready, he said. Go down in the cage, take some swings, get loose, because you never know.

Middlebrooks now has 51 RBI this season, putting him into elite company. Since 1918, Ted Williams is the only other Sox batter to hit at least 14 home runs and 51 RBI in his first 72 major league games. Williams had 14 homers and 74 RBI. Walt Dropo, Norm Zachin, and Fred Lynn all reached those numbers, but took more than one season to do so.

It was Middlebrooks first career plate appearance against Dempster. He was not concerned about seeing pitches from the Rangers right-hander.

Im pretty aggressive anyways, Middlebrooks said. Thats just my overall approach anyways every at-bat. So, if I can get a pitch up in the zone early, Ill take it.

But that was all the Sox could take from the Rangers in this game.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
 
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
 
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
 
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake