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."

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

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Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”