It has only been three games, but Will Middlebrooks has looked good, and that is good news for the Boston Red Sox.
Middlebrooks earned himself a demotion to AAA after his first 53 games of Mendoza Line production. In 45 games at Pawtucket, he hit just .268, but it was enough to get the call back up.
Middlebrooks has never been known as a guy that is going to hit for a high batting average, but instead a guy who will contribute with some power.
Regardless, his 5-for-12 start after being promoted for Sunday’s game shows he is more comfortable at the plate now. Even manager John Farrell has commented saying “He looks more relaxed, a little more confident.” Third base has been the lone position of concern offensively for the Red Sox this season, and if Middlebrooks can stay productive, it will go a long way in the playoff push.
Down at AAA, Xander Bogaerts is still expected to play about three games a week at third, despite his natural position being shortstop. This is a sign that the Red Sox are still preparing for the possibility Middlebrooks does not stay productive. Bogaerts will likely see a call-up to the big league level prior to the end of August, to ensure he is available for the postseason roster.
Bogaerts has two paths to playing time with the big league club; the first would be if Middlebrooks scuffles and third base becomes a hole in the lineup again. The second path would see Bogaerts seeing time at short should Stephen Drew fall victim to injury, something he has been susceptible to throughout his career.
All that said, Middlebrooks is contributing now, and the Red Sox are winning, which, in the big picture, is all that really matters at this point of the season.