BOSTON After Will Middlebrooks went 3-for-4 with a two-run, game-tying home run, and four RBI, raising his average to .316, manager Bobby Valentine was asked if a player can earn more playing time with his performance.
I think thats a fact of the game that we play, Valentine said.
It is a fact of his lineup for Fridays game. Middlebrooks is starting at third base, batting sixth, with Kevin Youkilis, who is batting just .225, on the bench.
Today Im riding the hot hand, Valentine said. Tomorrow might not be the case. I always reserve the right to change my mind.
Valentine said he discussed the situation with Youkilis, and believed Youkilis understood his decision.
He doesnt necessarily totally agree with it and wake up in the morning and hope that thats the case but I think the professional person that Kevin is understands it, Valentine said.
With interleague play coming to an end and with Sox outfielders getting back to health, Valentine was asked if he foresees Adrian Gonzalez continuing to play in right field.
Well take it day by day but if I had my druthers hed stay at first, Valentine said. The reason he didnt, I think, was because of necessity.
That arrangement would further limit playing time for Youkilis, whose name has swirled in trade rumors.