When the Red Sox demoted Will Middlebrooks to Triple-A on June 25 he was hitting .193 in 53 games and he wasn’t particularly great for Pawtucket, hitting .268 with 10 homers and a .790 OPS in 45 games.
However, after trading Jose Iglesias in the deal for Jake Peavy the Red Sox recalled Middlebrooks from the minors and he’s been on fire since. Middlebrooks homered yesterday against the Giants, making him 15-for-34 (.441) with two homers and three doubles in 11 games since the recall.
His season totals are going to look ugly no matter what because of his terrible first half, but Middlebrooks getting back to the productive, power-hitting third baseman he was as a rookie last season would be huge for the Red Sox down the stretch.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.