Middlebrooks will be in PawSox lineup Friday

Middlebrooks will be in PawSox lineup Friday
July 17, 2014, 8:30 pm
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BOSTON - Will Middlebrooks was up with the team on Thursday, but he'll be back in the Pawtucket in the PawSox lineup Friday night.

Middlebrooks looked strong during the team's batting practice session, at one point crushing three straight balls into the Green Monster seats. One of them was about as far down to center field as it could have gone.

He walked out of the box and fist-bumped another member of the team.

Now, obviously what happens in BP doesn't quite translate over to actual games, but it's the fact that Middlebrooks does possess that power if he could just put it all together offensively and defensively. That's been the biggest hurdle. 

But the comfort level is there, he said on Thursday.

"I feel comfortable now. It's just about being more consistent, stringing things together and getting my feet back under me because it's been so long since i've played complete games other than the last few days," Middlebrooks said. "Just get back out there and get healthy.

Middlebrooks just wasn't right this season with the Sox prior to going on the DL with a broken finger on May 10. Up to that point, he was hitting just .197 with two home runs and 9 RBI. With the PawSox, he's batting .232 (13-for-56) with one home run and four RBI. He's struck out 18 times and walked four.

What's worse for him? Xander Bogaerts now plays his position, making his call-up much less of a need right now. Even though he was only with the team on Thursday, it was nice to be back.

"It feels good," Middlebrooks said. "I miss the guys. This is a group of guys I've been with the last couple years and it's tough being away from everybody every day and watching the games on TV. So it's good coming in to see the guys and get a workout in."

There was a time earlier in the season where John Farrell had thought about trying Middlebrooks out in left field. On Thursday, Farrell said that wasn't the case anymore - at least not now.

"Ideally we get Vic back at the same time," Farrell said. "Our intention when Will resumes his rehab [Friday] would be to remain at third base. If there's a point in time where we expose him to left field, that will probably take some more discussion internally. Where we had the intent to do that prior, that's before Mookie came up, that's before Vic was getting close to us. So third base will be the focus at this point."

Middlebrooks doesn't have a problem with that. In fact, it doesn't seem like outfield has been on his radar at all.

"We haven't talked a whole lot about it," Middlebrooks said of playing outfield. "My first priority has been getting healthy and then third base. That was kind of something that would come down the road once I got healthy. Throwing was my biggest problem with my finger so that was something we were going to worry about down the road. Hearing that, that's fine with me. I'm a third baseman, but if they need me it's something I can do."

Middlebrooks jammed his wrist on a slide last Friday, but said on Thursday that it was nothing he was worried about at any point. It doesn't appear to be anything to look out for going forward.

"It wasn't bad," Middlebrooks said. "I played the rest of the game. It wasn't like I thought I'd hurt something. The next day I was pretty sore, just being cautious about it."