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When Will Middlebrooks hit three homers in one game just a week into the season, it looked like it was going to be a breakout year for the third baseman.
But now that game seems more like a fluke.
Middlebrooks is batting just .199 this season, collecting 39 hits and nine home runs in 51 games.
The 24-year-old was placed on the DL at the end of May with a low back strain and his time away from the Red Sox was extended a bit so that he could get some at-bats in with Pawtucket and, hopefully, get his groove back.
After missing 16 games, he was reactivated last week and was slow to show some signs of life. Then on Sunday, his three-run blast finally gave fans something to cheer about.
Middlebrooks has widely been considered a player of the future and is expected to be with the Red Sox for a long time. He batted .288 in 2012 with 15 home runs before breaking his wrist in early August and missing the remainder of the season.
Overall, his poor performance this season is a huge disappointment for a young player with high expectations and obvious talent. Hopefully Sunday marks his turnaround.