Kevin Youkilis is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, after wrapping up a rehab stint in Pawtucket with a bang.
The Red Sox third baseman went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and an RBI on Monday, while also playing nine innings at third base.
After going 4-for-11 with a couple of doubles and a handful of walks in three games with the PawSox, Youk is ready to get back into the swing of things with the big club. That’s great news for Youk, who will be antsy to get back into the lineup, but not-so-great news for his replacement, Will Middlebrooks.
In his time up with the big club, Middlebrooks has shown that, if nothing else, he can hit major league pitching. The 23-year-old came out hot, hit a cold patch and then ramped it back up again.
In what could have been his last game before getting sent down to Pawtucket, he went 3-for-5 with an RBI, playing an integral part in the Red Sox’ 8-6 comeback win over the Orioles. He’s batting .297 on the year, with five home runs and 16 RBIs in limited action. Add that to the gaudy numbers he was putting up in the minor leagues, and you begin to see why he’s making a case to stay with the Boston version of the Red Sox.
With Cody Ross sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks after breaking his foot, the Red Sox may need an extra bat in the lineup. The team has also floated the idea of playing Middlebrooks or first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield, so that both Youk and Middlebrooks would be able to play at the same time. It could be detrimental on the defensive end, but hopefully the offensive firepower the Sox could muster with their lineup at full capacity would help balance it out.
Of course, the team could also keep Youkilis fresh every few days by keeping Middlebrooks around to spell him off the bench. Or, to make sure that the developing slugger gets his at-bats, Ben Cherington could opt to demote Middlebrooks to Pawtucket so he can continue honing his craft.