Will Middlebrooks pulled from game with hamstring tightness

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From Tim Britton of the Providence Journal comes word that Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks had to be lifted from Tuesday’s game against the Royals after experiencing left hamstring tightness while running the bases in the second inning.

Middlebrooks finished the evening 1-for-1 with a double and is now batting .409 with a 1.435 OPS and seven extra-base hits in 22 at-bats this year. Nick Punto replaced him at third base and seems likely to draw the start there in Wednesday’s series finale.

Kevin Youkilis (back) recently began a walking program and is about two weeks from making his return. The Red Sox have discussed the idea of shifting Middlebrooks to the outfield when that happens.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.