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"I'm ready to go." said Middlebrooks. "It's been a normal offseason for me... I feel like my body's ready. My body feels good."
Unlike last year, Middlebrooks comes in know he has a position, but that's not changing his approach.
"I want to come in with the same mindset of fighting for a job."
That is what we want to hear from him. We want Will Middlebrooks to play like he is fighting for a job, as he was before Youk was traded. The trade happened, Middlebrooks got the job, his numbers declined, then went out with the injury.
Middlebrooks hasn't cemented his job at third just yet. I know there is no one in line and the Sox haven't brought anyone in to challenge Middlebrooks for the position. He is young, displayed some incredible numbers for a short span of time, but he obviously hasn't accomplished anything to show that he is going to be reliable and productive for many years to come. How could he? He only played in 75 games. Until he can play an entire season (and some) without any speed bumps, he will be fighting for a job.
With that said, I am very excited to see a healthy and enthusiastic Will Middlebrooks returning to the lineup.
Related: Herald: Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks ready to go
On Page 2, Will Middlebrooks backs Mike Napoli
Will Middlebrooks has a message for those who might be curious about the status of Mike Napoli: Don’t worry.
The Red Sox third baseman has been working out with his new teammate at the Athlete’s Performance facility near Dallas and reports he has seen no ill-effects from Napoli’s recently-diagnosed avascular necrosis. (In case you missed it, the AVN ailment is a degenerative disease that kills bone tissue.)
“Not at all,” said Middlebrooks when asked if Napoli has shown any signs of being hindered by the condition. “It doesn’t hurt him, and he’ll tell you the same thing. It’s just one of those things that’s tough because he doesn’t have any of the symptoms, but it’s there.”
Physical issues aside, after spending time with Napoli at the training facility, Middlebrooks feels the first baseman is a great fit for what the Red Sox need.
“He’s awesome,” the third baseman said. “He’s fun to be around. He’s been one of my main hitting partners during the past month. He’s going to be great for this clubhouse.”
Hey, if Will Middlebrooks tells us not to worry about Mike Napoli, then all should be well. No need to worry anyone, Napoli is going to crush the 2013 season.
The rest of the links:
Herald: A Nice view at the top | The 2-deep chart | Globe: Breslow's deal with Red Sox worth $6.25 million | Inside Terry Francona's clubhouse | Francona book excerpt: 2010 season leads to building of 'best team ever' | ESPN Boston: Francona: The ultimate Red Sox quiz | CSNNE: Lackey working hard to bounce back in 2013