May 25, 2018
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Red Sox send struggling Middlebrooks to Pawtucket

By The Sports Xchang, Special to the BDN

The Boston Red Sox sent Will Middlebrooks to Triple-A and decided to go with Jose Iglesias at their everyday third baseman, manager John Farrell said Tuesday.

Middlebrooks and Iglesias had rotated at third in the past month, but Middlebrooks is struggling at the plate. In 53 games this season, the 24-year-old is hitting .192 with nine home runs and 25 RBI. Three of the homers came against Toronto on April 7.

“Will will be getting regular at-bats,” Farrell said of the move to Triple-A. “For him to get back on track, he needs everyday at-bats.”

After an impressive start to his major league career in 2012 when he batted .331 with nine home runs and 33 RBI in his first 40 games, Middlebrooks has gone downhill. Since June 24 of last year, his batting average is .210.

“His skills haven’t gone backward,” Farrell said, according to “He’s still a very talented player. He needs consistent work that will allow him to replicate his swing. This isn’t uncommon for a young player, to take a step back now for the bigger picture.”

Iglesias has reached base in all 26 games in which he has had an official at-bat. The converted shortstop is hitting .420 in the big leagues since he was called up.

In other moves, the Red Sox purchased the contract of infielder Brandon Snyder from Pawtucket and placed catcher David Ross on the 60-day disabled list.

Bailey still struggling

After blowing three saves in a 10-day span, Andrew Bailey was displaced from the closer role last Friday, at which time manager John Farrell admitted the best way to help Bailey through his struggles may be to pitch him when the outcome of a game isn’t hanging in the balance.

However, Farrell didn’t have much choice in the seventh inning Sunday in the finale of a four-game series against the Tigers.

Reluctant to use Junichi Tazawa for two innings after he had either warmed up or pitched in three of the previous four days, and with lefties Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow reserved for later in the game, Farrell turned to Bailey.

“That’s where we were in the bullpen,” Farrell said.

Sure enough, Bailey yielded Austin Jackson’s leadoff single and a one-out single to Miguel Cabrera before being lifted for Miller. The Tigers loaded the bases, and after Victor Martinez struck out, Miller hit Jhonny Peralta with a two-strike pitch to force in the tying run in an eventual 7-5 loss.

Bailey has allowed runs in four consecutive outings and five of his last six.

The Red Sox have lost four of five games, yet they still hold a two-game lead on second-place Baltimore in the AL East because the Orioles have dropped three in a row. After an off day, Boston begins a two-game series against Colorado on Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Player notebook

— RF Shane Victorino had to come out of Sunday’s game in Detroit with back stiffness. He ran into the wall catching RF Torii Hunter’s foul fly ball in the fourth inning and batted one more time before he had to be pinch-hit for in the eighth. The Tigers brought in LHP Drew Smyly so pinch-batting for the switch-hitting Victorino would not be in order. Daniel Nava hit for Victorino and struck out.

— LHP Franklin Morales experienced some soreness in his left chest area at the back end of his 2 1/3-inning outing at Detroit on Saturday night. “He didn’t feel any drastic improvement,” Farrell said Sunday. “We’ll have him looked at Monday and make a roster decision at that time.” Morales felt the soreness on his next-to-last pitch, a fastball, then broke off a bad curve that 2B Omar Infantes hit for a two-run home run. Boston can’t afford to have a short bullpen so chances are he’ll be put on the disabled list if he can’t pitch in a couple of days.

— C Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not in the starting lineup Sunday which, combined with Monday’s break in the schedule, gives him a two-day break from catching. “He needs a day off,” Farrell said, “because of the number of innings he’s caught this week plus the fact it’s a day game after a night game.” He cited Saltalamacchia’s improvement on the defensive side of the game plus his game-calling skills as positives in his season.

— RHP Allen Webster remains in the Boston rotation “as of today,” Farrell said. “I thought his three-pitch mix was better than his previous starts and his secondary pitches were much better. It may take some time (for Webster to develop).” Webster likely would be returned to Triple-A if RHP Clay Buchholz were ready to return, but he isn’t.

–RHP Clayton Mortenson worked another rehab innings Saturday night for Triple-A Pawtucket. Mortenson pitched an inning but it was a little rough as he allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. He’s been out since June 11 with a right groin strain.

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