Sox notes: Middlebrooks, Pedroia out

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Sox notes: Middlebrooks, Pedroia out

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.

Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

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Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

The Adam Jones-Yadier Molina verbal skirmish is as predictable as it is annoying.

Was every cultural nuance for the 16 World Baseball Classic teams explained in a booklet the players had to memorize before the tournament?

No? Then it’s amazing there weren’t more moments like this.

Jones, the Orioles outfielder, said Team USA's championship game win over Puerto Rico was motivated by Puerto Rico's choice to plan a post-tournament parade for the team before the final game.

As Jones and his teammates know, parades in pro sports are for championship teams. Red Sox fans are likely aware of this.

As Jones and his teammates know, discussing a parade before a title is secured suggests overconfidence. Rex Ryan fans are likely aware of this.

After an 8-0 win for the U.S., Jones revealed the parade was used as bulletin-board material.

"Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made -- we didn't make 'em -- and a flight [arranged],” Jones said. “That didn't sit well with us. And a parade -- it didn't sit well with us."

But apparently, Jones didn't know the full context of the parade. It was reportedly planned regardless of whether Puerto Rico won.

One Team USA teammate of Jones whom CSNNE spoke with didn't believe that, however.

"It was called a champions parade that got turned into a celebration parade once they lost," the player said. "I think they just don't like getting called out by Jones, but all Jones did was tell exactly what happened."

Jones’ comments weren’t received well.

Puerto Rico's going through a trying time, a recession, and the entire island rallied behind the team.

“Adam Jones . . . is talking about things he doesn't know about," Molina told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. "He really has to get informed because he shouldn't have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

No one should be upset Jones explained what he was thinking.

Jones actually asked MLB Network host Greg Amsinger, “Should I tell the truth?”

Yes. It’s better than lying.

Look at the reactions across the WBC: the bat flips, the raw emotion. Honesty conveyed via body language.

People in the U.S. are starting to accept and crave those reactions. The WBC helped promote a basic idea: let people be themselves.

Jones said what was on his mind. We can’t celebrate bat flips and then say Jones should keep his mouth shut.

But there's an unreasonable expectation being placed on Jones here.

He heard about a parade -- which is to say, a subject he wouldn't normally think twice about or investigate before a championship baseball game.

Plus, it gave him motivation.

Why is Jones, or anyone with Team USA, more responsible for gaining an advance understanding of Puerto Rico’s parade-planning conventions -- we're talking about parade planning! -- than Puerto Rico is responsible for keeping U.S. norms in mind when making and/or talking about those plans?

No one involved here was thinking about the other’s perception or expectation. It's impossible to always do so.

But that’s how these moments develop: what’s obvious to one party is outlandish to the other.

Now Molina, Puerto Rico's catcher, wants an apology.

"He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people," Molina told ESPN. "Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn't know what this means to [our] people."

Jones can clear the air with an apology, but he doesn't owe one. And he definitely doesn't owe one after Molina took it a step further.

"I'm sending a message to [Jones], saying, 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,' " Molina said. "You're in spring training and you're working . . . you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means.”

Team USA had no parade. Manager Jim Leyland made clear how the U.S. was celebrating, by recognizing those serving the country.

The silver lining here is how much attention the WBC has drawn, and how much conversation it can drive. People care, a great sign for the sport -- and its potential to foster better understanding across cultures.

Internationally, the sport is on parade.

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.