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6/5/2013 12:49 A.M. ET

Middlebrooks gets rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket

BOSTON -- Will Middlebrooks made the first step toward returning to the Red Sox on Tuesday night as he played five innings at third base in a rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Middlebrooks, who has been out with a lower back strain, hit third and went 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk.

"I felt great," he said, according to the Providence Journal. "I really expected to come here and feel some tightness when I got done. I don't feel any, so that's a good sign."

He's expected to be in Pawtucket through Friday before returning to the Red Sox when he's eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday.

"We'll re-evaluate where things are at that point," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Jose Iglesias has been filling in for Middlebrooks at third.

Iglesias hopes versatility helps him stick with team

BOSTON -- If Jose Iglesias is going to stick around as a utility infielder with the Red Sox when Will Middlebrooks returns from the disabled list, which could be as soon as Saturday, he'll have to learn how to play some second base, too.

Iglesias, a natural shortstop who has been filling in at third base for Middlebrooks, stepped in at second base in the top of the eighth inning of the Red Sox's 17-5 win over the Rangers on Tuesday.

He only touched the ball once, handling a throw from shortstop Stephen Drew to step on second base for an out.

"Great reviews tonight," manager John Farrell joked afterward.

"I was pretty comfortable," Iglesias said. "It's pretty short. It's different -- you've got to take your time and make the throw."

With Middlebrooks' return lingering, Farrell wouldn't say if Iglesias would stay with the Red Sox as a super-utility man or be returned to Triple-A Pawtucket to get everyday playing time.

Asked how he would adjust to a part-time role, Iglesias said, "No idea. Let's get there first and see how it goes."

Farrell said there was nothing else Iglesias could do to make his case.

"Players tell you when they're ready and sometimes that doesn't always work because there are some things out of their control," Farrell said. "Jose has done a very good job for us. And in very limited action at third base, he's played it flawlessly. We have no limitation at all on either position on the left side of the infield for him. As far as roster moves, we'll address that as time moves on."

If Iglesias stays, it would probably leave Pedro Ciriaco without a job. The current backup infielder hasn't played much this year and is out of options, so he'd have to clear waivers before making it down to Pawtucket.

Iglesias, who went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs Tuesday, has four doubles and a home run while reaching base in all 11 games since being recalled from Triple-A. He's hitting .431 with the Red Sox.

"He's benefited from some balls finding their way in for base hits," Farrell said. "I think the most encouraging thing is that you look at the way he addresses pitches now, with the aggressiveness in his swing, it might not always result in a base hit, but hard contact is more frequent and with each passing day the confidence continues to grow."

Carp ejected late in rout over Rangers

BOSTON -- Rangers outfielder David Murphy was relegated to mop-up duty on the mound in the eighth inning of the Red Sox 17-5 win Tuesday. And he struck out Mike Carp.

Carp went down looking on a curveball at the top of the zone that home plate umpire Andy Fletcher called a strike. Moments after he walked away, Carp was ejected by Fletcher.

"Apparently he made some gestures from the dugout that Andy Fletcher didn't like, and he ended his night pretty quick," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Farrell briefly left the dugout to argue, but crew chief Joe West joined Fletcher in directing him back to the dugout and Farrell retreated quickly.

For Carp, who finished 3-for-4 with his fourth homer of the season, it marked his first career ejection in the Majors, though he said he's been ejected multiple times while in the Minors.

"I literally just shook my head and walked away," Carp said. "Anytime it's a position player it makes for an interesting atmosphere. And getting tossed on top of that makes it that much more unbelievable."

Red Sox unlikely to put ailing Ellsbury on DL

BOSTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury's current ailment is taking longer to heal than initially expected, but it shouldn't cost him a trip on the 15-day disabled list, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Tuesday.

Ellsbury, who hasn't played since Thursday due to left groin tightness following a five-steal night against the Phillies, was held out of the lineup again Tuesday, but was on the field to do some running.

Farrell said Ellsbury had not yet been ruled out of Boston's next game on Wednesday against the Rangers, but the manager has also said that before each of the last three games.

"We're hopeful this takes a complete turn over the next couple of days," Farrell said. "We have to get him through some functional testing today and see how he responds to that."

The injury was untimely for Ellsbury, who was hitting .245 as of May 25, but went 11-for-23 with five extra-base hits and seven steals over his next five games to raise his average to .268.

Worth noting

• Shane Victorino got up to 80 percent intensity as he ramps up the testing on his injured left hamstring. Victorino is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, but will need to go on a rehab assignment first. The Red Sox are hoping to get him out by the end of the week.

• Franklin Morales, who came off the DL and made a spot start last Thursday, is now available out of the Red Sox bullpen. He's the third left-handed reliever along with Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller.

• Stephen Drew entered Tuesday having gone hitless in 13 of his last 20 games.

"There have been stretches of streakiness," Farrell said. "There have been times when he's been pitched to with a constant mix where he's been out on his front foot."

• David Ortiz hit his 10th homer Sunday and has now collected at least 10 home runs each year since 2000, the only Major Leaguer to do so.

• The Red Sox are inviting children to take part in a monthlong celebration that will include free tickets for good report cards while also allowing kids to take the field for the national anthem and join in the pregame lineup exchange. For more information, visit redsox.com/calendar.

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.