The Boston Red Sox continue to be hit hard by injuries recently, as third baseman Will Middlebrooks is reportedly playing through a separated rib.
Middlebrooks left Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins following a collision with his teammate, catcher David Ross, while the two were chasing a foul ball. Although he returned to play after taking one full game off, it appears he is not fully healthy.
WEEI’s Alex Speier is reporting that Middlebrooks suffered a separation of one of his ribs in the collision. He doesn’t have a broken rib, but tore the cartilage that connects the bone to the sternum.
Middlebrooks described to MassLive.com’s Evan Drellich how the injury has left him feeling:
It's still pretty sore, pretty tender. I got a nice little bruise on my ribs. I thought I got hit by a truck. I've got to pick the biggest guy on the team to pick on? But it was actually the wall that got me the best. But I'm fine, good enough to play.
Speier wrote that Middlebrooks is able to play through the injury, but it has left him in significant pain and affected his breathing.
The Red Sox were concerned enough that minor league infielder Brock Holt was flown to Boston as a precaution earlier in the week, according to a tweet by SoxProspects.com’s Matt Huegel:
Sounds like Brock Holt flew to Boston after Tuesday's #RedSox game in case Middlebrooks injury required DL, based on his own tweets.— Matt Huegel (@MattHuegelSP) May 9, 2013
Holt’s tweets were later removed and the Red Sox determined that Middlebrooks could play with the discomfort.
Boston manager John Farrell explained to the Boston Herald’s Adam Kurkjian why the team was willing to let the third baseman (and Ross) back on the field:
Yeah, both guys continue to show improvement and, even by the end of the game (Wednesday) night, their stiffness and soreness was starting to dissipate. So they felt like they were ready in emergency situations last night, which was the case. Overnight, they continued to feel better and they’re ready to go today.
Middlebrooks has struggled so far this season, hitting just .203 with six home runs and 13 RBI in his first 34 games. He told the Boston Globe’s Julian Benbow that his rapid return was largely influenced by wanting to break out of his early-season slump:
"The way I’ve been looking at it, the more at-bats I get, the more games I’m in, that’s how much closer I am to getting out of this [slump]. I want to keep grinding this thing out. I don’t want to go sit down and watch. I’m going to eventually run into something."
Middlebrooks joins relievers Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan as recently injured Boston players. However, unlike the pitchers, it appears that the he will be able to avoid the disabled list—at least for now.
The tough start to the 2013 season for Middlebrooks just got tougher. The team wouldn’t be letting him play if he could cause any further damage, so how he produces in the coming games will be determined by how he can gut his way through the pain.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference