|Will Middlebrooks hopes 2014 brings nothing but smiles.|
(Photo courtesy of NESN.com)
If there was a premature plan in place for the left side of Boston’s infield next season, it’s that the Sox will re-sign Stephen Drew and have him a permanent fixture at shortstop, while allowing Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks to platoon at third base and slide Bogaerts to short on Drew’s off days.
Prematurely, that seems like a swell plan, as it worked for much of the final few weeks of the season and of course into the postseason.
But things change on a daily basis and with Ben Cherington noting that he’s looking to add depth to the left side, nothing is set in stone.
Middlebrooks is taking it upon himself to ensure he’s in that conversation from the beginning. He is staying in Boston, where he purchased an apartment/house in Southie last winter, and working out with the Sox training staff. Here’s what he had to say to Boston’s MLB.com beat reporter Ian Browne:
“I wanted to work with the training staff here, just to get my body ready. I want to be 100 percent. Our strength coordinator is here. Mike Boyle, he’s got a miniature API basically. Not even miniature, it’s basically the same thing. I can do that and my biggest (priority) was just working with the trainers and getting healthy.”
This quote, when inferred, suggests that Middlebrooks is saying he wasn’t fully healthy in 2013. Regardless, the young third baseman is getting a head start on making sure he’s ready when he reports to Ft. Myers, Fla., for Spring Training.
He’s got a wealth of talent and he’s still young, so seeing his attitude about getting into shape early and trying to remain healthy this winter is promising. Here’s hoping Middlebrooks bounces back and returns to a middle-of-the-order and everyday player for the Red Sox.
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