Felger & Mazz: Can Middlebrooks Steal Youkilis’ Job?
Will Middlebrooks’ hot streak led Mike Felger and Chris Gasper to discuss his emergence at third base and what that means for the Red Sox and injured starter Kevin Youkilis.
Is Youk going to get his job back when he returns? Felger and Gasper agree it is too early to make that call.
“Four games is too small a sample size” Gasper said.
However, both also say that Middlebrooks’ impact could be especially positive for the attitude in the Red Sox clubhouse.
“He’s injected something into this team. I think this was a veteran team that needed a little bit of a shakeup, just from an attitude standpoint,” Gasper said. “I think over the long haul, how can that possibly be a bad thing?”
Gasper also said that Valentine’s desire to win now might make him want to stick with Middlebrooks, if he’s still hitting well when Youkilis returns from the DL.
“If you’re Bobby Valentine on a two-year contract, you gotta ride the hot bat. I mean you already ripped Youkilis — what do you have to lose?” Gasper joked.
The guys also discussed how Bobby Valentine is performing? What happens when Youkilis comes back? Felger loved Bobby V’s “tough love” mound visit last night to Felix Doubront.
“Bobby V did his job there, [telling Doubront], ‘Wake up, kid. … This is Kansas City, you’ve been given a four-run lead, we have no bullpen. Throw strikes.’ So good for Bobby. Good for Bobby Valentine for going out there and doing that,” Felger said.
Felger and Gasper also discuss whether there has been an attitude switch with Valentine and whether Gonzalez is a player who is more absorbed with individual stats, or is winning his focus?