Valentine sidesteps question of what to do with Middlebrooks

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Valentine sidesteps question of what to do with Middlebrooks

BOSTON -- Kevin Youkilis's impending return raises the question about what the Sox will do with Will Middlebrooks.

The rookie third baseman has had an impact in 10 games, hitting .310 with 4 homers and 13 RBI in 10 games. He has an OBP of .356 and a slugging percentage of .714.

"I think that's a little premature,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "We'll do exactly what's right. Those things usually play themselves out. There's no need to make a decision until it's time to make a decision.''

Valentine was asked whether, in general, he believes young players are better off playing regularly at the minor league level as opposed to sitting on the bench in the big leagues, getting only occasional at-bats.

"Sitting on the bench is not a good place for very many players,'' said Valentine, "especially good young, talented players. What would be the purpose of having someone sitting the bench unless there was a useful purpose for him, not being in the starting role but also being able to contribute to the team wins? Now, is there a place for him to do that? I'm not sure."

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

Sale on the latest JBJ spectacular catch: 'What's wrong with that guy?'

The catches are becoming routine but that doesn't make them any less spectacular.

"'What's wrong with that guy?'" is what Chris Sale asked third baseman Brock Holt after they watched Jackie Bradley Jr. turn what surely looked like an extra base hit off the bat by the Angels' Yunel Escobar into another highlight-reel grab in the first inning of the Red Sox' 6-2 victory over the Angels in Anaheim on Friday night. 

"I literally, I looked at Brock and said, 'What's wrong with that guy?'" Sale told reporters, including MassLive.com's Jen McCaffrey. "It just seems like once he makes a great catch, it's like, all right, that's the best one. And then he makes another one, and ok, that's the best one now. It just seems like he's always raising the bar. It's fun to watch."

Less than a week after robbing the Yankees' Aaron Judge of a home run with his catch in the triangle at Fenway (below), Bradley explained yet another spectacular catch, this time to NESN's Jamai Webster.  

“Off the bat, it was well hit,” Bradley Jr. told Webster “Head[ed] towards the gap, I believe he had two strikes on him, so I was playing him toward the opposite field a little bit. I took off, tried to gauge as much as I possibly can, tried to time up my steps to try to make a leap...I wanted to go for it.”

"That's a big-time play by a big-time player," Sale said. 

"I don't know if you expect it, but I guess we're starting to, especially with what they're doing out there," Sale said. "Those guys, all four [outfielder, Bradley, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Chris Young], they work as hard as anybody, and they cover a lot of ground. I've said it before, it feels like we have four outfielders out there sometimes playing in the same game. It definitely doesn't go unnoticed by us as pitchers, and I think our whole team appreciates the effort all the way around."

On Twitter, JBJ's play drew an "Angels In The Outfield" comparison from fellow center fielder Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles.