No, Will Middlebrooks isn’t being benched. He’s just sitting tonight because there’s a rotation going on with Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, and Middlebrooks.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that it was “very difficult” not to play Middlebrooks, who slammed a two-run homer Wednesday night, but he said looking ahead the Sox will be playing on turf in Toronto’s Rogers Center and he doesn’t anticipate using Adrian Gonzalez in right field in all three games, nor does he anticipate Kevin Youkilis will play third base given he’s coming off a back injury.
In Dustin Pedroia news, the second baseman was still active and available for defense in a pinch, but Valentine will likely stay away from him.
Pedroia reports that swelling and soreness in the right thumb has been reduced. He is wearing two different braces and was wearing a second baseman’s glove yesterday afternoon. Pedroia will likely be cleared to play, if he has no other setbacks and if his thumb can tolerate the impact of hitting, by next Tuesday when the Sox return from their three-game road trip.
“I feel fine,” Pedroia said.
Bobby Valentine has intricate charts and data on his relievers including how many times they’ve been up and down in games before they get in, etc. He doesn’t believe the bullpen has been overly taxed as a result of those numbers.
It will be interesting to see whether Alfredo Aceves pitches a fifth consecutive day. It appears the Sox will stay away.
GM Ben Cherington and amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye addressed the media earlier on their draft plans. Both Sox officials indicated they would take the best players available. The Sox draft at No. 24, 31, and 37.