Red Sox players, management, and fans alike had quite a scare on Wednesday night when Will Middlebrooks appeared to have re-injured his wrist. He made an awkward check swing and immediately grasped his wrist. Middlebrooks later described a sharp, zinging pain as he took that swing. The Red Sox were quick to dispel rumors about Middlebrooks’ injury when they had a press release the next day stating that Middlebrooks is fine, and showed a picture of their young third baseman taking batting practice. Some fans were still concerned because Middlebrooks has not been in the lineup since that game, but those fans should be relieved today.
Middlebrooks is playing third base and batting third in today’s lineup against the Twins. This is a replacement player day where Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino are the only likely starters playing. The lineup reads Victorino RF, Sweeney LF, Middlebrooks 3B, Overbay 1B, Linares DH, Maier CF, Butler C, Iglesias SS, and Diaz 2B. These players will be facing Twins’ prospect Kyle Gibson while the Red Sox get some more injury recoveries with Clay Buchholz taking the mound.
If the Red Sox are going to contend this year, the Red Sox will need both Middlebrooks and Buchholz at full force. Middlebrooks is one of the more exciting young players in the game, and he has potential to put up big time power numbers in Fenway Park. However, this wrist issue means that fans may have to temper their expectations in 2013 and possibly beyond. Kevin Youkilis was never the same after a similar injury and David Ortiz has only recently recovered after nearly three years. Still, it’s good that this re-occurrence is no big deal, and we’ll listen on WEEI as Middlebrooks plays in his first game back.