Updates from Saturday, April 19
Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal has the latest on Middlebrooks:
The team announced the news Sunday:
Middlebrooks was in the original lineup for Saturday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, but the Red Sox removed him shortly before first pitch due to a "right calf cramp," according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Lauber also spoke to Red Sox manager John Farrell, who said the cold weather played a role in removing Middlebrooks from the lineup and discussed what players do to stay ahead of the curve to avoid pulled muscles:
If you poll any position player, certainly they’d like warmer weather. But there’s ways they can stay warm, whether it’s riding the stationary bike between innings down underneath, swing in the cage. The elements are what they are. We’re certainly not going to change them. We’ve just got to battle through it.
Between their 25-man roster and farm system, the Red Sox are one of the deepest teams in baseball and can withstand an injury to a secondary player like Middlebrooks without much drop-off.
For Middlebrooks, this injury puts his back against the wall. The 25-year-old third baseman was off to a solid start in four games this year with a .538 slugging percentage, but he still has to prove himself to the Red Sox front office after being demoted to Triple-A in the middle of 2013 and striking out 10 times in 25 at-bats during the postseason.
It can be tricky to put a timetable on muscle strains. Hopefully for Middlebrooks' sake it's just a two-week injury that heals properly so he can return to the field and prove to be Boston's long-term answer at third base.
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