This time, it's for keeps.
At least that's the idea for Will Middlebrooks, with 50-plus games left in the season, and the one-time prospect brought back up from Pawtucket and given another chance to win the third base job.
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam says when you break down the numbers - beyond Middlebrooks' .203 batting average and two homers in 22 major league games in what so far has been an injury-filled 2014 season, this is a big chance for the third baseman, who turns 26 on Sept. 9, to become an important piece for the revamped Red Sox.
"For Middlebrooks it's particularly important. I think Xander Bogaerts has a future with this team no matter what. Middlebrooks has to make good on that power potential," McAdam told Jessica Moran on SportsNet Central.
"Doing a little research today, I found Will Middlebrooks has played 190 games at the big league level, in that time he has hit 34 home runs. In Yoenis Cespedes' first 190 games, he hit 32 home runs. So, people are looking at Cespedes as this great power addition, and he could be, but it's a reminder that Middlebrooks has that capability if he can be a little bit less streaky and when he can stay on the field. Injuries have been a huge issue for him."
McAdam said the roster re-set after all the trade-deadline deals should help Bogaerts, too, as he moves back to shortstop.
"Bogaerts will be relieved to get back to shortstop. He just seemingly was getting more comfortable when he was moved over to third to make room for Stephen Drew," McAdam said. "I think we're going to see him have better at-bats now that he's more relaxed in the field."