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Gresh & Zo: McAdam Expects Big Year For Middlebrooks After ‘Encouraging’ Spring

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Will Middlebrooks #16 of the Boston Red Sox hits a solo home run in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 25, 2014. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Will Middlebrooks #16 of the Boston Red Sox hits a solo home run in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 25, 2014. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

WBZFM_Bio_Gresh_Zo Gresh and Zolak
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BOSTON (CBS) - Comcast SportsNet Red Sox beat writer Scott McAdam joined Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak on Thursday to talk about the Red Sox and how they’ve looked in spring training with the season right around the corner.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who struggled last year batting .228 with 98 strikeouts, 49 RBIs and 17 homeruns, has been the biggest surprise for McAdam – even more so than Grady Sizemore.

“I think Middlebrooks has to go down as one of the pleasant surprises of the spring.” McAdam said. “We’ve seen this guy, in spurts, be a terrific player with great raw power from the right side. Last year was a hugely disappointing year for him. He essentially got beaten out by two rookies in the span of a couple months and spent half the season in Triple-A.

“After somewhat of a rocky start to spring training with that brutal game down in Jupiter where he made a couple of errors, strikeouts and had just a horrible day, he’s bounced back from that. He leads the team with four homers and it just looks like he’s got a better approach up there. If you’re looking for some tea leaves to see how things are gonna go this season, I think you’d have to be encouraged by Will Middlebrooks.”

While not official, it’s all but guaranteed that Grady Sizemore will be the starting center fielder for the Red Sox on opening day, with McAdam saying it would be a “shock” if he wasn’t. While Jackie Bradley Jr. won’t be the starting center fielder, McAdam sees a spot on the roster for Bradley Jr.

“There remains the possibility, I guess, that Jackie Bradley Jr. could indeed break with the club as Victorino’s replacement, not as the starting center fielder,” McAdam said.

One of McAdam’s final points was on who’s the most important person in the lineup. Dustin Pedroia’s name came up, but ultimately McAdam went with the designated hitter.

“In terms of how opposing teams attack this lineup, and how they pitch to it, nobody changes that more than Ortiz,” McAdam concluded.

Listen below for the full discussion:

MORE RED SOX COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON

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