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Will Middlebrooks: Hamstring ‘wasn’t 100 percent … but I was good enough to go’

08.21.14 at 11:35 pm ET
By
Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks, out since Monday due to an injured hamstring, wasn’t scripted to be a part of Thursday’s game — or at least, not as early as the fourth inning, when he came in as the Red Sox third baseman. Manager John Farrell had said that Middlebrooks would be available off the bench, but his early entry became necessary when outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had to leave the game after the third inning due to what was described as a family medical emergency.

Mike Napoli was unavailable to play first, and David Ortiz had a scheduled full day off. With Allen Craig already in the game as DH, the team couldn’t put him at first base (moving Kelly Johnson to third) without losing its DH.

Enter Middlebrooks, who went to third base, with Brock Holt shifting from third to right field and Daniel Nava heading from right to left. The third baseman said that his hamstring was feeling “a little tight. Wasn’€™t 100 percent coming into the game but I was good enough to go. It was fine, just a little tight.”

And Middlebrooks ended up helping the Red Sox to preserve a measure of dignity, as his two-out, seventh-inning double to left off Angels starter Matt Shoemaker proved Boston’s lone hit in a 2-0 loss.

“As a guy on the bench you start getting loose around the sixth inning for a possibly pinch hit, maybe the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth inning,” Middlebrooks said of his rushed entry. “In the third it was kind of out of nowhere. I had to get as loose as I could and get out there to try to help us win.”

In the at-bat where he collected a hit, Middlebrooks said that he was sitting on off-speed offerings from Shoemaker. He jumped on a 2-2 changeup to deny Shoemaker’s effort to become the first pitcher since Chris Bosio in 1993 to no-hit the Sox.

“That last at-bat I went up there looking for off-speed. I fouled off a fastball off to our dugout, I was pretty late because I was thinking it was his split,” said Middlebrooks. “His split was good tonight it looked like his fastball out of his hand. I was up there looking offspeed.”

That is what he got, helping the Sox to avoid a measure of infamy. The Sox were grateful that Middlebrooks proved able to contribute.

“He’s still dealing with some discomfort there. He’s not a full 100 percent, but given the occurrence with Yoenis, we had to put him in there tonight,” said manager John Farrell. “He got through it.”

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