Two projected starters for the 2014 Boston Red Sox are currently toiling with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox on rehab assignments. Right fielder Shane Victorino is attempting to come back from a nagging hamstring injury that has sidelined him since May 23, while third baseman Will Middlebrooks hopes to make a return from a fractured finger suffered May 17. The Sox cleared the path for Victorino’s return, designating outfielder Grady Sizemore for assignment on Tuesday. But Middlebrooks’ status with the big club is murky.
In the 22 months since the close of Middlebrooks’ rookie campaign, the Red Sox erstwhile third baseman has failed to recapture the spark of his 2012 debut: .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBI in just 267 at-bats. Many projected 30 home run power for the third sacker, but Middlebrooks has since made more headlines for a) the hole in his swing b) an interference call in the World Series involving a clumsy Allen Craig c) multiple trips to the Disabled List and d) dating former NESN (now Fox Sports) sideline reporter Jenny Dell.
Middlebrooks had a calf injury earlier in the year and with his most recent malady, the team signed shortstop Stephen Drew and moved Xander Bogaerts to third. The Sox have capable utility players in Brock Holt and Jonathan Herrera. BSI’s Joe Meehan detailed the options for Middlebrooks yesterday. What would you do with the erstwhile third baseman?