Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Will Middlebrooks will be sent back to Pawtucket once Kevin Youkilis returns from injury. Youkilis began his rehab assignment last night in Pawtucket, during which he went 1-2, with a double and a BB.
Many had questioned whether Middlebrooks would retain the starting 3B spot in the Red Sox lineup after Will’s strong start combined with Youkilis’ early season struggles. It had even been mentioned that one of the two may be moved to the outfield to accompany both bats in the lineup. However, the organization must feel that Middlebrooks is best suited getting full time AB’s at 3B, and would rather not move Youkilis.
Even though Middlebrooks has outperformed Youkilis by hitting .278/.316/.593 in his absence, there is simply no room for the two to coexist on the major league roster. As a young and talented prospect, Middlebrooks needs to receive the at-bats required of a full time starter, and Youkilis, while having struggled, hasn’t underperformed to the extent that he should lose his job. Bobby Valentine has also stated that a player will not lose their job to injury, further securing Youkilis’ role as the starting third baseman.