Matthew Pouliot

Will Middlebrooks

Red Sox bring back Will Middlebrooks to play third base

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Those hoping the Red Sox would give top prospect Xander Bogaerts a shot should prepare to be disappointed. The team is instead recalling Will Middlebrooks to play third base, with Brandon Snyder going on the disabled list.

Middlebrooks had regained his stroke for Triple-A Pawtucket over the last week, hitting .333/.361/.545 with two homers in his last eight games. That followed a month of July in which he hit .238/.292/.390 in 105 at-bats. He hit .192/.228/.389 with nine homers and 25 RBI in 203 at-bats before being sent down in June.

Bogaerts was outhitting Middlebrooks in Triple-A, posting an .845 OPS to Middlebrooks’ .790 mark. Still, it seems as though the Red Sox prefer having him focus on shortstop for now. He had started at third base in just one of his last eight games for Pawtucket.

The Red Sox had been getting by with a Brock Holt-Snyder platoon at third base since trading Jose Iglesias, but that was nothing more than a stopgap situation until Middlebrooks or Bogaerts proved ready. If Middlebrooks struggles over the next couple of weeks, then maybe Bogaerts will get a look in September. However, if Middlebrooks hits, it’ll be his job the rest of the way.

Two weeks later, Christian Yelich loses three-hit debut

Christian Yelich
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A scoring change from the July 26 Marlins-Rockies game came down on Friday, costing Christian Yelich his third hit from his major league debut.

Yelich’s third single of the game was a hard grounder at a drawn-in D.J. LeMahieu playing second base. The ball handcuffed LaMehieu and bounced over his shoulder, though LeMahieu was able to pick it back up and turn it into a close play at first base. On Friday, it was changed to an error on LeMahieu instead of single.

Now, it’s hardly unique for error decisions to be overturned on appeal a couple of weeks after the fact, but this is still a pretty odd one. It was definitely a tough play for LeMahieu, and I’m guessing the majority of official scorers would have given Yelich a hit on it. But it’s really surprising anyone felt the need to appeal in the first place, given that the play didn’t lead to any additional earned/unearned runs. Jose Fernandez did score on the grounder, but the error isn’t going to assume he would have been thrown out at home and change that run to unearned. Giancarlo Stanton followed it by lining into a double play, so no additional runs scored. Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin sees his ERA remain unchanged by the decision.

So, yes, it a minor event and not really worth griping about. But I don’t see why MLB felt the need to overturn this one.

Here is the Yelich highlight clip from the game. The hit/error in question starts at the 30-second mark.

Tim Lincecum allows one hit over eight innings in win

Tim Lincecum
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Tim Lincecum’s resurgence continued Thursday, as the two-time Cy Young Award winner limited the Brewers to one hit over eight scoreless innings and struck out eight in a victory.

Lincecum was shelled for eight runs in the start after his 148-pitch no-hitter last month, but he’s allowed just three runs in 22 innings since. In his last six outings, he’s turned in five quality starts and amassed a 47/10 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings.

That stretch has lowered Lincecum’s ERA from 4.66 to 4.18. The thinking was a couple of weeks ago that the Giants didn’t need to deal Lincecum before the trade deadline because he’d clear waivers and could still be part of an August deal. That now seems highly unlikely; Lincecum is a free agent at season’s end, so money isn’t a huge issue.

On the plus side for the Giants, as long as Lincecum finishes strong, there won’t be any reason to be nervous about making him a qualifying offer and at least securing a draft pick if he bolts. The Giants could still trade Lincecum to the team with the worst record that claims him — the Nationals would seem to be the most likely option there or maybe the Diamondbacks if the Nats pass — but he’ll most likely finish the season in San Francisco.