The 22-year-old entered the 2012 season as the third baseman of the future. It did not take long for him to become the third baseman of the present. Middlebrooks made his debut May 2 after homering nine times at Pawtucket, then promptly hit three homers in his first four big-league games.
Happy trails, Kevin Youkilis.
Middlebrooks looked like a prototypical No. 5 hitter, hitting 15 homers with an .835 OPS in 75 games before his season was ended when a stray pitch broke a bone in his wrist August 10. The Red Sox went 13-35 in his absence.