PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Third baseman Will Middlebrooks had missed the Red Sox’ two previous games, sidelined by a hyperextended right middle finger. He was not in the original lineup that was posted early Sunday morning. But, after taking some swings in the batting cage to test his finger, Middlebrooks felt good and a revised lineup was posted with his name on it.
But Middlebrooks lasted just two innings in an 8-4 loss to the Rays. He got just one at-bat, striking out against Tampa Bay ace David Price in the second inning. He had a couple of chances in the field, being charged with an error in the first.
Middlebrooks said he did not re-injure his finger, but manager John Farrell took him out for precautionary reasons.
“He still felt a little sore,” Farrell said. “He tried to go today, wanted to get back in there. And yet when he was throwing the ball across the infield in early work kind of felt a little uncomfortable with it. I don’t think there was any drastic increase in soreness, but just didn’t feel quite right and more precautionary, wanted to get him out of there.”
On the play on which he was charged with an error, Middlebrooks attempted to field James Loney’s slow roller, the ball rolling up his hand.
“That ball hit me on my wrist,” Middlebrooks said. “Didn’t even hit me in the hand. No re-aggravation or anything like that. It had nothing to do with that.
“Just wanted to feel things out. For one, I wanted to see Price because we’re going to see him a lot. It was a short day. Got an at-bat, couple of innings of defense. It felt a little sore so we just cut it a little short.”
Middlebrooks said his injury did not bother him at the plate, either.
“It was all right. I struck out but he made a good pitch. It had nothing to do with that [injury],” Middlebrooks said. “I was still a little sore. Talked about it with [Farrell] and we decided now is not the time to grind through things so let’s get it to where it needs to be and take it from there.”
Middlebrooks was unsure when he would play again.
“We’ll check him tomorrow and kind of see where things are,” Farrell said. “But I think it will be important to go through a full day of just some pregame work where he’s not feeling anything that’s restricting his throws or anything like that.”