PawSox skipper on Middlebrooks: "He played hard down here and he earned it"

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

It came as a shock to many when Will Middlebrooks was called back up from Pawtucket on Saturday. However one person who wasn’t surprised was PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina.

“He played hard down here and he earned it -- no doubt,” DiSarcina said according to ESPN Boston. “It wasn’t by default.”

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Middlebrooks has had a tough year. He was the bright spot of the horrendous 2012, hitting .288 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 75 games. Still that didn’t stop fans from being bitter that he was cited as the reason for trading the beloved Kevin Youkilis. And when he started off 2013 in a sophomore slump, that seemed to be all the media could harken back to: He was supposed to be the next big thing.

“It’s easy to fall into that sense of entitlement trap,” said DiSarcina. “Where you feel like you’ve played three good months and you’re going into camp and it’s your job. It’s so easy because he had such a good year, but you can’t take anything for granted in this game. I don’t care how old you are. There’s a boatload of big league players that had three good months -- a ton of them. To get sent back down for him was a reality check.”

Apparently Middlebrooks has taken his reality check very seriously. Batting .268 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs in Pawtucket, his numbers didn’t necessarily show his improvement, but DiSarcina said it was all about his work ethic and his eagerness to improve.

“I’ve never seen him so excited about something in my life,” DiSarcina said. “He’s getting on third base and wants to talk about hitting mechanics with me and I’m like, ‘Will, you’ve got no outs.’ But that’s how excited he is about it.”

DiSarcina also said that Middlebrooks seemed to gain more confidence once the trade deadline passed.

But it seems like nowadays you can’t talk about Middlebrooks without talking about top prospect Xander Bogaerts and why he isn’t in the hall of fame yet, or something like that. The fact of the matter is, Bogaerts is 20 years old, and keeping him in the minors isn’t going to hurt him. In fact, it will most likely make him a lot better. Plus, he doesn’t seem to feel snubbed.

“Man, Will’s a really nice guy,” Bogaerts said according to ESPN Boston. “When he got demoted, it was weird for me to go talk to him. Of course, he must have felt bad, but I just couldn’t get the confidence to go talk to him. But man, he helped me out a lot at third base, especially at spring training and before I went to the WBC. He was the guy who was there helping me take grounders. He helped me here in Pawtucket and it was really nice. He’s helped me a lot and I have to give him a lot of credit. I really like Will and hopefully he does good up there. He’s been having a tough year this year but I hope he turns things around.”

Comment or follow me @_SamMG