BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox recalled third baseman Will Middlebrooks over the weekend, but many are wondering why top prospect Xander Bogaerts didn’t get his shot.
Middlebrooks struggled at the plate and in the field earlier this season, and was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket on June 25 after batting .192 with 13 doubles, nine home runs and 25 RBIs. He hit .269 with 10 homers during his stint in Pawtucket, and made an immediate impact out of the nine spot in the lineup Saturday night — driving in two runs and scoring two in Boston’s win over the Royals.
But what about Bogaerts? He was learning to play third along with his duties at shortstop in Pawtucket, and has hit .284 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 54 games since being called up from Double-A.
The Providence Journal’s Tim Britton joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Monday night, and said this was the ideal time to call up Middlebrooks.
“I don’t think they’re 100-percent comfortable with Bogaerts at third base. I think all along the ideal situation would be to call up Will Middlebrooks and let Xander Bogaerts get sure footing at third in Triple A while Middlebrooks is gone,” said Britton. “They can see what Middlebrooks can do at the major league level, and if he doesn’t handle it you have another fall-back option (in Bogaerts)”
“Whereas if you call up Bogaerts first, you risk exposing him at third base a little defensively, and then losing Middlebrooks for the rest of the season because his confidence was a little shaky before,” said Britton. “If you call up the young guy ahead of him that could be the final blow.”
Why didn’t Ben Cherington call up both Middlebrooks and Bogaerts?
“I would guess they don’t want (Bogaerts) not playing everyday and be a platoon guy,” said Britton. “It could be something you see when the roster expands in September.”
“Part of it is getting Will Middlebrooks everyday playing time,” he added. “When he was losing time to (Jose) Iglesias he wasn’t hitting well near the end of June. But it wouldn’t surprise me if ,before long, we saw Bogaerts and Middlebrooks at the Major League level.”
Britton also talks about Boston’s weekend series in Kansas City, and what their playoff rotation could look like come October: