Will Middlebrooks could remain in minors after DL stint

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Will Middlebrooks began a minor-league rehab assignment last night at Triple-A, but manager John Farrell indicated that the third baseman may not automatically return to the Red Sox once he’s recovered from a back injury.

Griffin Tewksbury of WEEI.com has all of Farrell’s quotes, including:

This is not only a chance to make sure his health issue is behind him, which everything points to that being the case, but also to use this as an opportunity to get some momentum going before he gets back. Hopefully that is sooner rather than later.

Middlebrooks hit just .201 with a .642 OPS in 46 games before the injury and fill-in Jose Iglesias has hit .426, but based on how well Middlebrooks played as a rookie last year and how poorly Iglesias has hit throughout his minor-league career making the swap full time would be very surprising.

Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a homer last night, but at the very least the Red Sox apparently won’t be in any hurry to activate him from the disabled list.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.