Heyman On Gresh & Zo: Moving Middlebrooks To 1st Base ‘Would Be A Mistake’
BOSTON (CBS) – With the MLB season taking a break for Tuesday night’s All-Star game, CBS Sports’ Baseball Insider Jon Heyman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak for his weekly appearance on Tuesday.
There is plenty going on with the first-place Red Sox, including a log-jam on the left side of the infield.
Stephen Drew is expected to be activated from the DL on Saturday, which will likely move Jose Iglesias back to third and leave Will Middlebrooks in the minors.
Would it be smart for the Red Sox to give Middlebrooks a try at first base? Heyman doesn’t think so.
“I think his value really is at third. If you look around baseball, there just aren’t that many guys coming up and there are just a few at the top,” he said. “It’s a difficult position to fill. To have a guy nimble enough to play third and have power, to switch him to first base now would be a mistake.”
“Why upset the apple cart? It was working with Drew at short; I know his batting average hasn’t been great but he’s been very, very solid,” said Heyman. “I would just stick (with what they’ve been doing), and I’m pretty sure that’s what they’ll do.”
Switching gears to the Boston rotation, are the Red Sox concerned with the lack of wins from Jon Lester after a hot start?
“I think the issue is just execution or mechanics. He tends to drift off a little from what I’ve heard from people around the team. I don’t think he’s pitched terribly as of late,” Heyman said of Lester. “I’m not sure they’re overly concerned, but the one thing I would keep in mind, with (Clay) Buchholz still down,this is a team that wants two front-of-the-line starters.”
Buchholz suffered another setback, though Heyman doesn’t think the team is worried their ace will miss the rest of the season.
“They pushed back his throw date, and I think he’s shooting for Thursday now. I don’t think they’re certain he’ll be back immediately,” he said. “End of the month is best case scenario. I think they’ll be cautious with him, and that could affect the trade deadline.”
“I haven’t heard they’re fearful he’ll be out long-term or miss the year,” he added, “but there is concern with him beyond the trade deadline anyways.”