By Courtney Swift 3-6-13
Boston’s Will Middlebrooks is no longer the new kid. The Red Sox third baseman is back and healthy. Last year he played only 75 games before a wrist injury ended his season. Middlebrooks said he was nervous about any lingering effects, but saw progress this winter.
“I was really worried it’d still be hurting me this spring,” he said. “About halfway through the off-season I started hitting, and a couple weeks into it, it was pretty sore, and then it just went away.”
The Red Sox thought they were in trouble when Middlebrooks had a wrist scare one week ago. But he was cleared, and doctors said the pain was probably just scar tissue breaking up. So far this spring he has played in five games for the Sox.
“It’s really nice to be in here and be in spring training and be comfortable and have that confidence in it.”
The team has also been happy with new head coach John Farrell. Middlebrooks is still getting used to the new leadership, but thinks Farrell’s personality has spread throughout the team.
“It’s a completely different coaching staff in general, so it’s a completely different style of coaching,” Middlebrooks said. “John’s a very confident guy and I think that rubs off on all of us.”
Middlebrooks isn’t far removed from being a rookie, and told WEBN Boston it’s important for new guys to always be observant of seasoned players.
“I think we have a great core group of veteran guys here that you can really learn from,” he said. “Just watch their work in the cage, watch the way they go about their business.
Guys like Petey [Pedroia] and David [Ortiz], you won’t be going wrong if you copy those guys.”
Two prospects who have been doing well this spring are Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogarts. Both could see some major league action this season. Meanwhile Middlebrooks said it’s important to just remember the game is the same.
“You get up [to the majors] and it’s a whole new world, it’s the same game though,” Middlebrooks said. “That’s what you have to realize is that nothing changes as far as the game goes, it’s just a bigger stage.”
Middlebrooks looks ready to be a mainstay on Boston’s big stage now and years to come. You can follow him on Twitter @Middlebrooks.