Middlebrooks sits as Sox face Tigers in series finale

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Middlebrooks sits as Sox face Tigers in series finale

BOSTON -- Tonight it's Will Middlebrooks' turn to sit as the Red Sox look to complete a four-game sweep of the Tigers:

Daniel Nava LF
Ryan Sweeney RF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Mike Aviles SS
Scott Podsednik CF
Nick Punto 2B

Josh Beckett P

Some notes from the Red Sox:

HIGH WATER MARK: With a 6-4 win over the Tigers Wednesday night, their third straight victory, the Red Sox improved to 26-24 and are a season-high two games over .500 . . . The Sox surpassed the .500 mark for the first time this year after Tuesday nights win . . . It had been the longest the club had gone at the beginning of a season without going over .500 since the 1996 squad crossed that mark for the first time on Aug. 25 (66-65).

IN THE STANDINGS: The Sox are in fifth place in the A.L. East, 2 12 games behind the division-leading Orioles and Rays, their smallest deficit since also being 2 12 back after play on April 28 . . . This is the latest into a calendar year that Boston has stood in last place since September of 1997 . . . With a win tonight, the Sox will move into a tie for fourth place with Toronto, which is off tonight and is 27-24, and will be within two games of first place in the division for the first time since the end of play on April 16.

PAPI THROUGH 50: With a 2-for-4 effort last night, including a two-run homer, David Ortiz brought his season hit total to a team-best 61, tied for sixth-most in the A.L. . . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 61 hits ties the most he has ever had in his first 50 games of a season. He also had 61 hits in his first 50 games in 2007, en route to a career-high 182 hits . . . Ortiz is tied with the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and the Reds' Joey Votto for the Major League lead with 30 extra-base hits.

10-SPOT FOR GONZO: Adrian Gonzalez has hit safely in a season-high 10 straight games dating back to May 20, the second-longest active stretch in the Majors (Miami's Jose Reyes has hit in 11 straight) . . . Gonzalez is batting .300 (12-for-40) with 4 doubles, 1 homer, 6 RBI and 6 runs over the 10-game span.

Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

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Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

Forget that cryptic Tweet to the Globe. David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, fans. At least not as a player.

"My playing time has already expired," Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, 'I'll play tomorrow.' Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency."

No one really thought he was contemplating a comeback, but last week he Tweeted this . . .

. . . and that raised hopes that he'd changed his mind.

Not so.

 

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.