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Tuesday, 04 June 2013 20:58

What to Expect When Will Middlebrooks Returns

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Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks is expected to rejoin the team on Saturday after he's been on the disabled list with a strained back. Middlebrooks will begin a four game rehab assignment for the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate Pawtucket on Tuesday against the Charlotte Knights.   

Prior to his injury, Middlebrooks struggled at the plate as he's hitting .201 with 54 strikeouts in 174 at bats. 

Some fans said the Red Sox should keep him in the minors, but I believe you will see the Middlebrooks from 2012 when he returns. 

After taking over for Kevin Youkilis last season, Middlebrooks went on to hit .288 with 15 homeruns in only 75 games. Watching Middlebrooks so far this season, you could tell something just wasn't right. If he can return to last season's form, he could provide more power in the Red Sox lineup. Now that Middlebrooks is set to return, there's interesting story that he is indirectly related to. 

It was expected that shortstop Jose Iglesias would return to Triple-A when Middlebrooks returned from the disabled list, but manager John Farrell and his staff said they are considering other options that would keep him on the big-league roster. 

Iglesias has been on fire since coming up from Pawtucket. He's batting .424 with 3 doubles and a home run in 10 games. He is a natural shortstop, but has played well at third base since Middlebrooks has been injured. 

Now it's possible that infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who hit .293 in 76 games in 2012, could be designated for assignment. Ciriaco has only hit .239 in limited duty this season and hasn't played as well as he did a season ago. 

Whatever Farrell decides to do, it's a good situation to have. The Red Sox are in first place and have depth. Something they didn't have much of a season ago.