Sox' Middlebrooks (hamstring) out Monday against A's

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Sox' Middlebrooks (hamstring) out Monday against A's

OAKLAND -- Will Middlebrooks, who came out of Sunday's game after suffering a strained left hamstring, was out of the lineup Monday as the Red Sox opened a three-game series against the A's.

Nick Punto was the Red Sox' third baseman.

Middlebrooks, who reported to the Coliseum early in the afternoon to get treatment on the hamstring, said he felt improvement over the day before.

"It's nothing serious," said Middlebrooks. "I'm just having some tightness, soreness. But I don't think it's anything serious. I don't think it's anything to worry about."

Middlebrooks experienced some cramping in the hamstring back in late April and early May when he was first promoted from Pawtucket, but said this was "different."

Asked about a timetable to return to the lineup, Middlebrooks said he wasn't sure, but said he thought it was possible before the trip concludes here Wednesday afternoon.

"They're discussing it now," said Middlebrooks of the training and coaching staff. "I'm just going to wait to hear."

The Red Sox didn't have a player to replace him on the roster present, but manager Bobby Valentine said it was possible the Sox could have someone here by Tuesday.

"He feels better today than he did (Sunday) and better than he expected," said Valentine. "That's the only news we have. It's not discolored and that's good. But it's going to be some days (before he plays). We won't let the calendar dictate; we'll just see how he feels.

"Maybe (a trip to the) DL, maybe a few days. It's just one of those injuries."

Since the Sox are carrying 13 pitchers, they have just three extra position players on the bench -- Punto, Brent Lillibridge and Kelly Shoppach. And with Punto in the lineup and Middlebrooks unavailable for now, Valentine's flexibility is reduced.

"We'll see how he we get through tonight," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we have someone here (Tuesday)."

It's possible the Sox could bring in another position player without putting Middlebrooks on the DL. Clayton Mortensen, for instance, could be optioned to Pawtucket to give the Sox another position player for a few days.

"We're trying to evaluate all the possibilities," said Valentine.

Lillibridge has played third before and could be used at the position.

"It's one of the positions he's comfortable with," Valentine said. "I've seen him take ground balls there twice. I think he could play there."

Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

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Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

If you're upset with the way the Red Sox have played recently, well, David Price understands.

But things, he vows, will get better. And he adds that it's only when you've been in the deepest valley that you can appreciate the highest mountain.

Or something like that . . .

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

After Eduardo Rodriguez's horrific performance Monday night against the Rays -- 11 hits and 9 earned runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings, leading to a 13-7 Red Sox loss to a team that entered the game riding an 11-game losing streak -- the Sox succumbed to the obvious and shipped him back to Pawtucket.  

And they got no argument from Sean McAdam.

"I think this is the right move," CSN's Red Sox Insider told Dalen Cuff on Monday night's SportsNet Central. "Because, clearly, the step forward that [Rodriguez] took, however small, last week was more than wiped out and (he) regressed this evening the way he pitched. And things have to be worked out, both in terms of execution and his approach . . . "

In six starts this season covering 29 1/3 innings -- less than five innings a start -- Rodriguez has been, in a word, awful. His 1-3 record is bad enough, but couple that with an 8.59 ERA, an opponents' batting average of .315, a WHIP of 1.74 and nine home runs allowed (a rate that projects out to about 45 homers allowed in a 150-inning season), and you can see why a change had to be made.

“The bottom line is, [Rodriguez] is capable of more," said manager John Farrell.

But now comes the next question: Who replaces him? And that, noted McAdam, has no easy answer.

"What it means for the rotation going forward is completely uncertain," McAdam told Cuff. "In fact, (Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski) told us that there was no corresponding move. Of course, because this turn doesn't come up in the rotation for another five days with the off-day Thursday, it's not anything they need to address (immediately). And in all likelihood, they'll probably get somebody to pitch out of the bullpen here until that turn comes up."

So the Sox get five days to ponder a problem that seems, in many ways unsolvable.

"[There] aren't a lot of good candidates internally," McAdam noted, "and it's unlikely there's going to be any sort of trade . . . in the next four days to fill that spot