Will Middlebrooks leaves Red Sox-Orioles game with...


2013 Red Sox spring training stream

  • Will Middlebrooks leaves Red Sox-Orioles game with soreness in right wrist.

    The wrist watch is on again for Will Middlebrooks.

    The Red Sox third baseman left Wednesday night's game against the Orioles with soreness in his right wrist after he tried to check his swing on a fastball up and in by Baltimore righthander Chris Tillman in the top of the first inning.

    "It's not as serious as we thought it was," Middlebrooks told reporters several innings after leaving the field in Sarasota. "It was just more of a scare, because of the area it was, right where I broke it last year. Just took a swing, obviously it looked pretty awkward, felt just as awkward as it looked, so it was more precautionary. I probably could have stayed in the game and been fine, but they just wanted to make sure everything was alright... I have all my strength, we did strength tests, everything's there." There were no immediate plans for an X-ray on Middlebrooks who reiterated that he has no pain in the area now. Middlebrooks guessed that it may be a scar tissue issue in the surgically repaired wrist.

    After the Red Sox 5-3 defeat to the Orioles, NESN analyst Jerry Remy was not as optimistic in his quick diagnosis, despite Middlebrooks' assurances.

    "We really don't know yet, until he gets checked out by the doctors which will probably happen back in Fort Myers, or maybe even in Boston, that's when we'll find out just how serious this is," Remy said. "But it did not look good and especially being the same wrist that he hurt a year ago, to take that kind of swing, and to be in that kind of pain, I don't have a good feeling about it."

    Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game that the initial tests on Middlebrooks' wrist were encouraging and the hope is that it's only a day-to-day situation. Middlebrooks will be re-evaluated in Fort Myers by the Red Sox medical staff on Thursday, which will determine the next step in his timetable. The slugging infielder said he hopes he is cleared to take batting practice on Thursday as well.

    “What we’ll check is just how [Middlebrooks] comes in in the morning,” Farrell said. “If we feel like there’s overnight soreness or any kind of swelling, certainly every precautionary test would be done at that time, but everything was encouraging just based on the tests here tonight... the manual tests”

    The 24-year-old third baseman fractured his right wrist last August but said earlier this spring that he is "absolutely, 100 percent... [the break] wasn't a tendon or a ligament or anything like that, it was just bone, it feels as it did before it got hit."

    With two outs and runners on first and second in the top of the first inning of the Grapefruit League contest, it appeared Middlebrooks attempted to check his swing on an inside pitch when he jumped out of the batter's box while clutching his right wrist and grimacing. Middlebrooks was met by manager John Farrell and head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson as he walked toward the dugout, flipping his helmet to the ground as he left the game.

    “I was just frustrated," Middlebrooks said afterwards. "I’ve been busting my ass to get this to where I can play. In my head I was just worried there might be a setback and I don’t think there’s going to be."

    Middlebrooks was replaced by Pedro Ciriaco, who got Boston on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the third inning that tied the game at 1-1. Ciriaco added another hit later in the game and also had a throwing error.

    Middlebrooks was performing as one of the top rookies in baseball before the injury knocked him out for the last two months of the 2012 season and finished the year batting .288/.325/.509 in 286 plate appearances.

    If Middlebrooks were to be out for an extended period, Ciriaco would likely fill in at third base for the short term, and top infield prospect Xander Bogaerts -- a shortstop who should play some third base for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic -- could become part of the mix at third.

    In 76 games playing for the Red Sox last season, Ciriaco batted .293 with a .705 OPS while playing all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop and third base. The 20-year-old Bogaerts had a .307/.373/.523 line with 37 doubles, 20 home runs and 81 RBIs between Class A Salem and Double-A Portland.

    Brock Holt and Drew Sutton are other possible options if the Red Sox have to dig deeper for backups with the organization.

    Watch the video of the Middlebrooks swing here.
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