Third baseman Will Middlebrooks was forced to leave Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles due to soreness in his right wrist. After checking his swing on a pitch during his first at bat of the game, he’d turn towards the dugout and leave the game, visibly frustrated. Middlebrooks missed the final six weeks of the season for the Boston Red Sox after fracturing the same wrist last August but had said that he feels 100% recovered. He’ll be re-evaluated Thursday morning.
Middlebrooks appeared in 75 games before the injury, hitting .288/.325/.509 with 15 HR and 54 RBI in 286 PA. It was an impressive debut and there are some big expectations for Middlebrook to have a big season in his sophomore year in the Sox lineup.
Depth is not a luxury that the organization has a third base, however, which could pose a significant problem if Middlebrooks is forced to miss a good amount of time with another injury. Pedro Ciriaco could likely get the lion’s share of at bats, at least initially, but he’s really better served in a utility role rather than starting daily. Top prospect Xander Bogaerts could also receive some consideration at some point, though he’s playing in World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands so Boston won’t truly be able to watch their own player until he returns following the tournament. Choosing him to start in Middlebrooks’ place on Opening Day might be rushing things considering Bogaerts has yet to play above Double-A. That alone could give the nod to Ciriaco.
To his credit, Middlebrooks was telling teammates following the game that he was feeling “just fine”, according to reports by NESN Daily post game. The team will still undergo some tests on the wrist in the morning to ensure that there is no injury. There has to be hope that he won’t miss significant time.