The Boston Red Sox are enjoying a major turnaround this season with a 36-23 record going into Wednesday’s action. They have been without their young third baseman Will Middlebrooks as well due to injury, but it looks like he is about to return soon. He began a rehab assignment on Tuesday night, but there is something to watch for when he does return, though.
Middlebrooks was hitting just .201 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs before landing on the disabled list. The team has fared very well with Jose Iglesias playing third base, and while Middlebrooks will get his job back when he returns, I’m not sure how long Boston will allow him to not hit at a high level. This is obviously a very different Boston team than what we saw last season. It has reached a point where the Red Sox could find themselves making the playoffs one season after the calamity of the 2012 year.
If Middlebrooks can’t get his batting average up, I think the Red Sox may end up giving Iglesias more playing time there until he cools down. I wouldn’t be sitting a red-hot hitter just because someone is returning from an injury. You should be leaving him out there until he hits a slump and only then do you bring the regular back in.
It could be a very short leash for Middlebrooks upon his return to Boston. The team is better obviously with him in the lineup and could make a playoff run. It will be worth watching though to see how good Middlebrooks is once he gets back into the Red Sox lineup.