Prior to their game Monday at Tampa Bay, the Boston Red Sox elected to recall third baseman Will Middlebrooks from Triple-A Pawtucket. Infielder Pedro Ciriaco was designated for assignment in order to clear room on their active roster, according to The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham.
Middlebrooks seemingly returns to the Boston lineup ahead of schedule if you’ve listened at all to any of the talk in and around the city in recent days. The third baseman has struggled mightily at the plate on the season before landing on the disabled list with back spasms, prompting the team to dictate that he might need to spend some time back in the minors in order to “figure things out” before he’d return to the team. Middlebrooks appeared in just five games with Pawtucket – hitting .294/.429/.647 with a pair of homers in just 21 PA – before yesterday’s decision to bring him back to the Major Leagues. He’s hit just .201/.234/.408 in 185 PA on the year with the Red Sox and while the team has managed to climb to the top of the American League standings, there has to be hope that Middlebrooks can turn his season around and start contributing more at the plate.
As for Ciriaco, the move to DFA him doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. He’s out of options and cannot simply be sent down to the minor leagues, but more importantly he’s lost his place as the team’s utility infielder thanks largely to the emergence of Jose Iglesias. Ciriaco has seen time at nearly every position on the diamond since joining the Sox prior to the 2012 season on a minor league deal. He surprised many last season, hitting .293/.315/.390 in 272 PA and had some key hits throughout the year (particularly against the New York Yankees – against whom he hit .415/.436/.566 in 56 PA). This year he hasn’t been able to replicate that success, however, as he’s struggled to a .216/.293/.353 line in 58 PA.
Abraham suggests that there could be a good chance that Ciricao clears waivers, allowing the Sox to send him down to Triple-A. He’s just 27 years old, not yet arbitration eligible, and offers up some certain value with his defensive versatility so it remains to be seen whether or not another team will put in a claim.