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.

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

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Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

Click here for the complete story on CSNChicago.com