Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was batting .333/.380/.677 with nine home runs and 27 RBI in 100 plate appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket at the time of his promotion to the major leagues. And he’s barely slowed down at the next level.
Middlebrooks went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI in Saturday’s 8-4 defeat of the Braves.
The 23-year-old native of Greenville, Texas now boasts a .960 OPS, nine homers and 33 RBI through the first 40 games of his major league career. That RBI total through 40 games is the most for any American League rookie since Wally Joyner drove in 38 for the Angels back in 1986. And the most in baseball since Albert Pujols tallied 44 RBI in his first 40 games with the Cardinals to open the 2001 season.
Middlebrooks is here to stay. And Kevin Youkilis is on the move — possibly to the White Sox.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.
Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.
With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.