Notes: Middlebrooks out; Sizemore hits leadoff

Notes: Middlebrooks out; Sizemore hits leadoff
March 17, 2014, 11:30 am
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Third baseman Will Middlebrooks took infield and batting practice Monday morning, but will not be in the lineup Monday afternoon against St. Louis as he battles a hyper-extended right middle finger.    

Middlebrooks first suffered the injury last Thursday. He came out of Sunday's game after two innings, more as a precaution than anything else.    

"It's the throwing, more so than the swinging the bat, when he feels it,'' said John Farrell. "He might play light catch today, but he's not in the lineup.''
    
* Shane Victorino was hitting second Monday, a spot he might be utilized in more often. Victorino is also a candidate to hit leadoff.    

"He's got an ability, in the No. 2 hole, to play the game a little more,'' said Farrell. "If there's a guy on base, he's got the ability to bunt. He's already seen some pitches to the guy ahead of him. You can't deny the track record (Victorino has an OBP of .352 and an OPS of .792 when batting second in his career) of what spots in the lineup show and the performance of getting base, particularly. It gives us another on-base and speed-type guy at the top, in addition to who might be leading off with him in the No. 2 hole.''

* Grady Sizemore is the leadoff hitter Monday.    

He'll get tomorrow off when the Red Sox travel to Tampa to face the Yankees, but will play back-to-back games again Wednesday and Thursday, thought Wednesday could see him play in a minor league game.

* When the Sox travel to Tampa, they'll miss out in playing against former teammate Jacoby Ellsbury.    

Ellsbury has been battling a pulled calf muscle and almost certainly won't play Tuesday. For that matter, it's unlikely that Ellsbury will make the 2 1/2 hour bus ride to come to Fenway South Thursday night when the Sox host the Yankees.