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.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”