With Kevin Youkilis having been traded to the Chicago White Sox, it was believed the move would result in Bobby Valentine having to do a little less juggling with the lineup.
Monday night, Valentine had Will Middlebrooks, who now projects to be the everyday third baseman, playing third and batting sixth while Adrian Gonzalez, who pulled some stints in right field to accommodate the presence of Youkilis and Middlebrooks in the lineup, back at his natural position at first base and batting fifth.
“I would think the corner infield situation is going to be … much more stable,” Valentine said. “Adrian seems to be the first baseman and Will seems to be the third baseman and then we’ll figure out how they get days off, if necessary.”
In other clubhouse news:
• Brent Lillibridge, the utility infielder/outfielder who was acquired along with righthanded-pitcher Zach Stewart for Youkilis and cash considerations, arrived Fenway Park around 1:30 p.m. and was among the early birds in the Sox clubhouse, where he was initially greeted by Scott Podsednik, a former White Sox teammate.
“You have to turn the page pretty quick in this game and I’m pretty excited to be part of this team and this storied franchise,” said Lillibridge, a native of the Seattle area whose father grew up in Rhode Island as a Red Sox fan.
He hit .200 (5-for-25) with a double, RBI and 4 runs scored in his last 19 games with the White Sox, making only five starts during that stretch. He is best remembered for making the last two putouts on back-to-back memorable catches (on a warning-track out and a diving grab) to seal a 3-2 victory over the Yankees last year in Chicago. “It was a lot of fun,” Lillibridge said. “It gave me kind of an opening to play in the outfield. It was a lot of fun at the time against New York, but I’ve got to make plays and I’ve got to make catches now that I’m here with the Red Sox.”
• Valentine said Clay Buchholz, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday (stomach illness) had still yet to be released from the hospital. He was hoping to get out today,” Valentine said. “I was just in the training room and it was decided to keep him a little longer, not because anything got worse just because they want to make sure that everything is as stable as possible before he’s out.”
Asked if it had been determined what caused Buchholz’s internal bleeding, Valentine said, “Don’t think so, no.” Was it a concern? “I mean, I’m concerned, but it’s a personal matter with Clay,” Valentine said. “I’ll bet you he feels OK. He sounded it last night.”
• Valentine said Middlebrooks reminded him of one particular player he had previously managed. “Because he plays third base and the ball comes off his bat in a special way, it reminds me a little bit of Dean Palmer, who I [managed] as a young man,” Valentine said.
• Josh Beckett threw a bullpen session Monday and is expected to travel with the team to Seattle. Beckett is eligible to return from the 15-day DL (right shoulder inflammation) on Thursday. “He said his shoulder felt great,” Valentine said. “Because we have him on this disabled list, we’re not going to let the calendar dictate. We’re going to make sure he’s really feeling good. So we’ll wait until we make that determination. We’ll wait to see how he feels [Tuesday].”
Valentine didn’t forsee Beckett pitching as soon as Thursday. “I don’t think it would be Thursday, again only because of the trip out there [to Seattle],” he said. “Why have that as another compounding situation we have to deal with. Maybe the next day, if everything is going well, but we’ll see.”