FORT MYERS, Fla. After making his big league debut on May 2, Will Middlebrooks hit .288 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI, a .325 on-base percentage, and .509 slugging percentage and was a part of the Rookie of the Year conversation. But his season was cut short after 75 games when he suffered a fractured right wrist after being hit by a pitch Aug. 10. So, it has been refreshing for him to return to the field again.
Phenomenal, he said. Its been about six months since Ive done anything. So it felt great to be out there with the guys and -- not mess around -- we got to work but its fun.
It may be early in camp but its clear there is a different vibe around the team, he said.
Absolutely, he said. I think everyone will say that. Everyones here to work a day at a time right now, get better, and get to where we win ballgames.
I think everyones got a little chip on their shoulder right now, too. Were kind of here to prove the world wrong.
If youre playing for something a little extra, I think youll push a little harder.
Middlebrooks, the Red Sox fifth-round pick in 2007 out of Liberty Eylau High in Texarkana, Texas, said his wrist is fully healed with no limitations.
It was a pretty simple rehab, he said. I was in a cast for eight weeks. I got out and I just did some strengthening things. Its not ligaments, its not tendons. It was bone. So theres not really a whole lot of rehab. It was just kind of a waiting game and yeah Im absolutely 100 percent.
Ive already tested it. Its just hitting and reps and making sure I can deal with the workload of every day of BP (batting practice) and throwing and going into a game. So havent had games yet obviously so well see.
Not that I thought I was going to reinjure it because it wasnt going to happen. But just I knew it would be weak and I didnt want to hurt anything else around it. So just kind of had to ease into it.
With the rest of the position players, Middlebrooks took batting practice Friday, part of the teams first full-squad workout this spring. It was fun, he said, to have the whole team together for the first time.
Thats exactly how it should be, he said. Its a business but at the same time its still a game. Come out here and play like youre 12, 13, thats how I think about it.
Everyone goes their separate way in the offseason. Everyone has different programs. Some guys are rehabbing injuries. So it feels good to come together and just be a baseball team again.