Here’s a dose of positive news for the Red Sox.
Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports that third baseman Will Middlebrooks “should not need to have surgery” on his broken right wrist because doctors diagnosed the fracture as non-displaced.
He’s still probably done for the remainder of the 2012 season, but the wrist should make a full recovery and he has a good chance of being 100 percent healthy heading into spring training next February.
Middleboorks, a 23-year-old rookie, posted a .288/.325/.509 batting line with 15 home runs, 14 doubles and 54 RBI over his first 75 major league games this season. Boston has turned to Pedro Ciriaco at third base in his absence. Danny Valencia should also get looks at the hot corner down the stretch.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.