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Will Middlebrooks wasn’t going to let 102-degree fever sideline him

04.01.13 at 9:30 pm ET

NEW YORK — After the Red Sox‘ 8-2 win over the Yankees Monday, Will Middlebrooks could be found lounging on one of the Yankee Stadium visitors clubhouse’s couches. The euphoria of an Opening Day victory was being tempered by what was flu-like symptoms.

Middlebrooks explained after the game that he played in the season-opener with an 102-degree fever.

“It was tough. I could feel it,” he said. “But I wasn’t going to miss this for the world.”

The third baseman finished his first major league Opening Day going 0-for-4 with a walk and a run, striking out twice. Middlebrooks had two chances in the field, catching a pair of pop-ups.

Middlebrooks had previously expressed his excitement about being part of Opening Day, and putting 2012 in the rear-view mirror when talking with WEEI.com’s Alex Speier in spring training.

“We were normally on the other side of that. It’s not a good feeling at all. I’d never had that feeling in my life. Probably most of these guys hadn’t. Definitely don’t want to feel it again — that’s for sure,” Middlebrooks recalled of the series in New York in ’12. “There were so many different feelings. I don’t even know what to say. I don’t want to say it was a relief that all of that was over, but there was almost an anger there. I was embarrassed. All of us were embarrassed. That’s not how we play baseball. That’s not how this organization plays baseball.

“I just know when that last out was made, all I could think of was, ‘Right now. It’s finally here,’ ” Middlebrooks added. “I really don’t think the offseason could be over soon enough, just to start with a clean slate. [But] I actually don’t think our slate is really clean. We have a lot to make up for, a reputation to get back.”

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