5/17/2014 7:25 P.M. ET
Bradley gets break to 'catch his breath'
By Tim Healey / Special to MLB.com
BOSTON -- Much of the pregame hubbub surrounding Jackie Bradley Jr. had to do with his afro -- he unfurled his braids in public for the first time -- but the actual baseball news concerning the rookie center fielder was that he was not in the lineup Saturday for the first time since April 20.
Grady Sizemore got the nod in center and in the No. 5 hole.
Manager John Farrell called it a "chance to regroup" for Bradley, who this month is hitting .128 and slugging .170 while getting on base at a .226 clip. Bradley's 0-for-3 night Friday made him hitless in his last 12 at-bats.
Bradley caught the manager's attention when he told the media, "I'm lost" after Friday night's contest.
"He's been going at it every day, and he's done a very good job defensively," Farrell said. "Offensively, there's been some times where he's challenged. We're well aware of the swing-and-miss that's shown up here of late.
"I saw the comment that he made. I think anytime a player speaks that candidly about what he's feeling, I think there's an opportunity to give him a little bit of a breather, take a game in and kind of just catch his breath, so to speak."
Bradley, for his part, is doing what he can to stay positive as he navigates personally uncharted waters. His strikeout rate (.294) is much higher than his batting average (.200).
"I am going through something that I'm not used to," Bradley said. "I pride myself on at least putting the ball in play. I definitely don't strike out this much. It is still a work in progress, and I'm trying to get better."
And as for the new hairdo? It helps him feel, in his own words, "loose."
"I feel like I can blink," he said.
Fractured finger lands Middlebrooks on DL
BOSTON -- The Red Sox dodged injury bullets when Xander Bogaerts and Shane Victorino showed up to Fenway on Saturday healthy enough to play, but the same couldn't be said of Will Middlebrooks.
Boston's third baseman was placed on the 15-day disabled list after an MRI revealed a non-displaced fracture of his right index finger. Middlebrooks suffered the injury in the first inning of Friday's 1-0 loss to the Tigers on Ian Kinsler's line-drive infield single.
Brock Holt, recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, played third and batted ninth Saturday in place of Middlebrooks. Holt entered owning a .348 average (8-for-23) and .429 on-base percentage in seven Major League games this season. Holt got the call over prospect Garin Cecchini, who manager John Farrell said still has to develop defensively at the hot corner.
Middlebrooks will spend five to seven days in a splint, according to Farrell, before the team re-evaluates the injury.
"That's when we'll first look to initiate any baseball activity," Farrell said. "It's hard to say, at this point, how long he'll be down."
The fracture occurred when Kinsler's liner dipped under Middlebrooks' glove and caught his bare hand. Middlebrooks was in on the play to guard against a potential bunt.
Middlebrooks stayed in the game, successfully fielding two groundouts while going 0-for-2 with a strikeout until A.J. Pierzynski pinch-hit in the seventh. Farrell said the injury affected Middlebrooks' grip on the bat, and Middlebrooks noted that by the last third of the game, he couldn't even get his batting gloves on.
By Saturday afternoon, the finger was bent, swollen and bruised.
"I was able to hit with [the finger] off the bat, but throwing was tough," Middlebrooks said. "I think I got three or four plays after it happened. I knew the grass was wet, so I could skip it over to [first baseman Mike Napoli] if I needed to.
"I just tried to make it through. I was like, you know, man, just jammed it, bruised it, it'll be better tomorrow, ice it up, whatever. And then it just kept getting worse and worse."
It's the latest in a series of injuries in the recent years for Middlebrooks, who missed three weeks with a right calf strain last month. Sooner or later, he figures, things have to turn around.
"I'm waiting, I'm waiting," Middlebrooks said. "I think I'm pretty due."
Added Farrell: "Injuries are out of the control of anyone. It's an unfortunate situation, but we can't run him out there with a fractured finger. ... We've got to get him right to get him back to us."
Prospect Betts sees on-base streak come to end
Second baseman Mookie Betts, Boston's No. 5 prospect, drove in two runs on Saturday as Double-A Portland beat the Trenton Thunder, 4-3. He snared a line drive in the ninth inning and started a game-ending double play.
But for the first time in a while, Betts did not get on base. The infield prospect's on-base streak ended on Saturday afternoon at 66 games.
Betts' average this season fell to .383 as he went 0-for-4 while driving in two runs on a pair of RBI groundouts.
Including last season's Carolina League playoffs, Betts' streak actually reached 71 games, which matched a streak Kevin Youkilis put together in 2003 and one Kevin Millar ran from 1997-99, with some time in the Majors in between.
Betts is ranked No. 53 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list. He is batting .383/.452/.591 with six home runs, 26 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 37 games this season. The 21-year-old has recorded more walks (21) than strikeouts (13).
Betts enjoyed a breakout season in 2013, hitting .314/.417/.506 with 15 homers, 65 RBIs and 38 stolen bases in 127 games split between Class A Greenville and Class A Advanced Salem.
-- Adam Berry
Victorino back in action, with brace on left knee
BOSTON -- Shane Victorino, armed with a new brace on his left knee, was back in the lineup for Saturday's contest against the Tigers after sitting out the series opener Friday. He played right field and hit second in the middle game of the weekend set.
The Red Sox sent Victorino for an MRI on Friday when he experienced swelling in the joint after he banged his knee Tuesday against the Twins. The exam came back clean, but the Sox were unsure when he'd return to the lineup until Saturday.
"Last night, after the MRI, he came back in and he felt like, in his view, he was capable," manager John Farrell said. "But we wanted to give it another day of rest."
Victorino had been hot over his prior dozen games -- hitting .340 (17-for-57) with four extra-base hits -- but it wasn't likely he'd be stealing any bases if he got on base. He entered Saturday's game having swiped just one bag in one attempt this season.
Farrell said that is less so a product of injury concerns -- first a balky hamstring last month, and now the knee -- than it is to protect David Ortiz behind him. If Victorino were to steal second, Farrell explained, opposing pitchers might be more likely to pitch around Ortiz.
"And as David has gotten that hot streak, we wouldn't want to tempt the opposition to put him on with an intentional walk," Farrell said. "There's no thought, at this point, to getting [Victorino] out of the two-hole just to let him run more."
Red Sox release statement about injured woman
BOSTON -- The young woman who fell down an elevator shaft at Fenway Park on Friday suffered "serious injuries," according to a release from the Red Sox on Saturday evening, and is being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The 22-year-old woman fell two stories and landed on an elevator car shortly after Friday's game, according to media reports, and was unconscious when authorities arrived. It is thus far unclear how she went through the doors.
"The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and the Boston Police Department are working to determine exactly what happened," the Red Sox's release said. "Due to the ongoing investigation, and out of respect for the family of the young woman who was injured, the Red Sox will have no further comment at this time."
• Pierzynski was back in the lineup Saturday for the first time since Wednesday. David Ross had started back-to-back games for the first time this season on Thursday and Friday.
Tim Healey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.