Middlebrooks rockin' and ready to go

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Middlebrooks rockin' and ready to go

FORT MYERS, Fla. After making his big league debut on May 2, Will Middlebrooks hit .288 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI, a .325 on-base percentage, and .509 slugging percentage and was a part of the Rookie of the Year conversation. But his season was cut short after 75 games when he suffered a fractured right wrist after being hit by a pitch Aug. 10. So, it has been refreshing for him to return to the field again.

Phenomenal, he said. Its been about six months since Ive done anything. So it felt great to be out there with the guys and -- not mess around -- we got to work but its fun.

It may be early in camp but its clear there is a different vibe around the team, he said.

Absolutely, he said. I think everyone will say that. Everyones here to work a day at a time right now, get better, and get to where we win ballgames.

I think everyones got a little chip on their shoulder right now, too. Were kind of here to prove the world wrong.

If youre playing for something a little extra, I think youll push a little harder.

Middlebrooks, the Red Sox fifth-round pick in 2007 out of Liberty Eylau High in Texarkana, Texas, said his wrist is fully healed with no limitations.

It was a pretty simple rehab, he said. I was in a cast for eight weeks. I got out and I just did some strengthening things. Its not ligaments, its not tendons. It was bone. So theres not really a whole lot of rehab. It was just kind of a waiting game and yeah Im absolutely 100 percent.

Ive already tested it. Its just hitting and reps and making sure I can deal with the workload of every day of BP (batting practice) and throwing and going into a game. So havent had games yet obviously so well see.

Not that I thought I was going to reinjure it because it wasnt going to happen. But just I knew it would be weak and I didnt want to hurt anything else around it. So just kind of had to ease into it.

With the rest of the position players, Middlebrooks took batting practice Friday, part of the teams first full-squad workout this spring. It was fun, he said, to have the whole team together for the first time.

Thats exactly how it should be, he said. Its a business but at the same time its still a game. Come out here and play like youre 12, 13, thats how I think about it.

Everyone goes their separate way in the offseason. Everyone has different programs. Some guys are rehabbing injuries. So it feels good to come together and just be a baseball team again.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.