Red Sox demote Will Middlebrooks to Triple-A

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When Will Middlebrooks was on the disabled list with a back injury there was speculation that the Red Sox might keep him in the minors even after he got healthy.

They didn’t, activating Middlebrooks from the DL like normal two weeks ago, but now after just four hits in 29 at-bats they’ve decided to demote the 24-year-old third baseman to Triple-A.

Brandon Snyder was called up to take Middlebrooks’ place on the roster, but the Red Sox figure to use Jose Iglesias as their primary third baseman. Projected to be a terrible hitter based on his minor-league track record, Iglesias has hit .426 with a 1.044 OPS through 33 games this season.

After a strong rookie half-season Middlebrooks has hit just .192 with an ugly 60/9 K/BB ratio in 53 games this year for a dropoff of more than 200 points of OPS.

Felix Hernandez will miss 3-4 weeks with shoulder bursitis

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Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.

It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.

Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.