08/12/12 12:50 PM ET
Valencia appreciates chance for fresh start
By Justin Albers / MLB.com
"It was definitely a rough April," Valencia said. "I got off to a slow start, and they had guys come in and do a great job, and there really wasn't room for me."
The Red Sox acquired Valencia from the Twins last Sunday, and they called him up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday to take the spot of injured third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Valencia arrived at Progressive Field about 30 minutes before the start of Saturday night's game, and he entered as a defensive replacement at third base in the eighth inning.
Valencia was in the lineup at third, batting eighth, on Sunday afternoon.
"It [felt] nice because I wanted to get the early jitters out," Valencia said of playing Saturday. "I don't really know many people. Everybody's been really great. ... It's nice to be able to start over and have a clean slate, and try to help a team win that's right in the middle of things."
Valencia said he hasn't yet talked with manager Bobby Valentine about what his role will be with the Red Sox, but Valencia figures to get a substantial amount of playing time at third. The 27-year-old struggled with the Twins this season, hitting just .198 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 34 games, but he's been a productive hitter in the past. Valencia had 15 homers and 72 RBIs in 154 games last season.
Whatever his role is, Valencia will be happy to have it. He's glad just to be part of a big league team.
"What happened to Will is unfortunate," Valencia said. "I feel bad for him. I just want to come in and help the team win, no matter what I can do, whether it be off then bench, starting, whatever it is. It's nice to just be able to get back with a team that's playing for the playoffs."
Middlebrooks won't need surgery on right wrist
CLEVELAND -- Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks will not need surgery on his fractured right wrist, he said Sunday. Middlebrooks sustained the injury in the ninth inning of Friday night's game against the Indians, and he will likely miss the remainder of the season.
"They're not displaced," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "The gaps just need to fill in. When those things just get cracked, they've got to get the putty filled back in there. It shouldn't be any problem. But then again, who knows."
As soon as the 96-mph fastball from Esmil Rogers hit Middlebrooks, he knew it was bad.
"I almost felt it crunch," he said when addressing the media for the first time since the injury. "I didn't know if that was my wrist or like the velcro on my batting glove. And then once we came in, I really couldn't move it much."
Middlebrooks' injury leaves another major hole in Boston's lineup. The 23-year-old was hitting .288 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 75 games. With the team trying to chase down a playoff spot, Middlebrooks expressed disappointment that he won't be able to contribute.
"It's horrible," he said. "There's a month and a half left, and I'm stuck being a cheerleader. We all want to win games here, and I can't do anything to help now."
As upset as Middlebrooks was about the injury, he recognized the progress he made in a short time this season. The Red Sox traded veteran Kevin Youkilis to make Middlebrooks an everyday player, and he has flourished in that role.
"Most of it's mental and confidence-wise," he said, "knowing I can compete up here and help us win. Next year, going into it, I feel like I have a job. I'm not trying to win a spot, I feel like I have a spot here. That's a big thing."
Big Papi remains out, unable to run without pain
CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz was out of lineup again on Sunday, the day he had targeted for a return from his right Achilles injury. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said the designated hitter was supposed to work out on the field before Sunday's game, including taking batting practice on the field.
"He'll do something out there," Valentine said. "I'm afraid to go out and watch. I don't want him to think that I'm pushing or anything."
Ortiz hasn't played since July 16 against the White Sox, but he seems to be making some strides in his recovery. Ortiz took Friday off to rest, and Valentine said he felt "great" the day after. But Ortiz continues to have pain in his Achilles after running.
"He's at the point where, if he does the full workout and doesn't feel the pain afterward, he'll be ready to go," Valentine said. "He's done the full workout a couple times, but he's felt it afterward in that specific spot. It's not just soreness, it's in that specific spot."
There remains no set timetable for Ortiz's return, but the struggling Red Sox hope their powerful designated hitter can return soon. Entering Sunday, they were just 10-15 without him during his time on the DL. Ortiz is hitting .316 with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs in 89 games.
Manager Bobby Valentine said pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will try to go seven innings in his next rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket. Matsuzaka is on the 15-day disabled list with a right trapezius strain, and he hasn't pitched for Boston since July 2. He allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings in his last start on Friday.
"He feels healthy," Valentine said.
Pitcher Andrew Bailey was scheduled to make another appearance for Pawtucket on Sunday. Valentine said Bailey will work in a "real game situation," and could try to get a four-out save if the team is winning late. Bailey is on the 60-day disabled list after having right thumb surgery.
Valentine said the umpire made the right decision Saturday night when he called Red Sox starter Franklin Morales for a balk in the fifth inning. The play proved to be costly when the runner -- Cleveland's Michael Brantley -- eventually came around to score.
"We haven't seen that called this year where the pitcher doesn't stop," Valentine said. "A lot of guys use that play, and he got called on it. I think it was the right call, [we] just haven't seen it called very much."
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia entered Sunday hitting .357 (15-for-42) with three doubles and three RBIs in 11 games in August.
Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.