BOSTON -- One day after going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a home run, Will Middlebrooks is getting the night off on Thursday against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park.
Adrian Gonzalez is at first, hitting third, and Kevin Youkilis is at third, hitting fifth.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that his reasoning revolves around the upcoming trip to Toronto, and the days off he knows he's going to give Gonzalez and Youkilis on the astroturf.
"We're going to astroturf tomorrow" said Valentine. "There's going to be a limited number of days where I think Adrian should be out in that outfield on the astroturf."
So why not Middlebrooks at third instead of Youkilis?
"Because we're going to astroturf and Youk's not going to play all three games on astroturf," said Valentine. "So, he's going to get his day off there."
Dustin Pedroia (thumb) is out of the lineup for third straight game, and Valentine hinted beforehand that Middlebrooks could potentially play shortstop if Mike Aviles ever had to move over to second base in Pedroia's absence.
"Middlebrooks also was a good high school shortstop, so he can play another position," said Valentine. "If something happens, he's going to take a grounder at shortstop, because Mike Aviles has played second."
As for Pedroia's health, Valentine said it's "more of the same."
"The swelling is down more, and he's a little louder," said Valentine. "But he's better."
Valentine said that they asked Pedroia not to swing the bat. And as of Thursday afternoon, he hadn't seen Pedroia going against their wishes. Not at Fenway at least.
"I was on my bike today," said Valentine. "I saw three batting cages within three miles of here. But I had to go check and see where he was this morning. He hasn't hit here."
In Pedroia's absence, Nick Punto has taken over at second base, and will do so again on Thursday night against the Tigers, for the third-straight game.
Punto's gone 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in the last two games, and hits ninth on Thursday.
That's probably why Punto was taking early batting practice at Fenway before the game. But he was hitting against a batting machine, which Valentine said was probably done to get his timing back on breaking balls.
"What I see is a lack of timing, and, that's exactly what you should see," said Valentine. "The only way to really time this big-league stuff is by doing it. And obviously, he hasn't done it very much. I expect the more pitches he sees, the closer he's going to come to getting the timing he needs to make contact."
Valentine also said that the Red Sox don't have a plan to bring an extra infielder with them to Toronto after Thursday's game, but he "suspects" they will add another infielder before the weekend is over.
--Valentine gave several injury updates before Thursday's game ay Fenway Park against the Detroit Tigers:
Aaron Cook (knee laceration) threw in the bullpen on Thursday, and if he gets through that without any hiccups, then they'll place him on a pitching program to figure out when he'll begin pitching again. But they'll wait and see how the wound reacts to pitching off a mound.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbowneck) will pitch tonight for Triple-A Pawtucket and will then stay there to do his bullpen work.
Darnell McDonald (oblique) will play throughout the weekend in Triple-A "to make sure he's fit and sound," according to Valentine.
Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) is working out at Fenway, and according to Valentine, Ellsbury says he feels great.
Cody Ross (foot) has no pain in his fractured left foot, with or without the walking boot. He'll have another MRI soon, to determine the amount of healing.
Andrew Bailey (thumb) is now throwing up to 90 feet.
Chris Carpenter (elbow) is now throwing up to 120 feet.
Ryan Kalish (shoulder) is currently playing in Double-A Portland "with no ill effects of his medical woes," according to Valentine.