Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, suffering through a difficult season at the plate (.197/.305/.324), is returning to the disabled list with a fractured right index finger sustained in the first inning of last night’s game when it was struck by a line drive. Last night, with two runners on and one out in the sixth inning, manager John Farrell removed Middlebrooks for pinch hitter A.J. Pierzynski who promptly killed the sixth inning, first and second, one-out rally with a tailor-made 6-4-3 GIDP.
While some speculated it was due to Middlebrooks struggles against right-handers (.143 average), others guessed it might be due to the injured hand sustained on that first inning play. Farrell was seen talking to Middlebrooks after he made his decision to substitute for him, so this injury to Middlebrooks is not a complete surprise.
Brock Holt impressed during his last stint with the Red Sox, going 8 for 23 with four RBI. While not hitting .380 as he was when he was called up previously, Holt is hitting .315/.380/.454 at AAA Pawtucket this season, though starting only four games there at 3B this season. He has also started 23 games at shortstop and four games at second base in the minors this season.
Considering last night’s shutout, perhaps the offense will benefit from this infusion of Holt’s bat in the lineup.