Will Middlebrooks May Play Outfield Once Kevin Youkilis Returns to Red Sox Lineup

Will Middlebrooks May Play Outfield Once Kevin Youkilis Returns to Red Sox LineupKANSAS CITY, Mo. –– Will Middlebrooks ascended up the Red Sox organization as a third baseman.

But could he eventually see some time in the outfield? While Bobby Valentine said a move wasn't imminent, the Red Sox manager didn't rule out the possibility of trying out the youngster in the outfield.

"It's been tossed around in some quarters," Valentine said. "It hasn't been a tabled discussion yet, so I don't think it even has to enter his domain. That being said, I think he's a pretty –– again small sample –– but my being around him is he's a pretty mature baseball guy. He's not going to be flustered by a lot of things.

"He's more fleet. He runs a little better than a lot of third baseman, which might give him a little upside. It's just a little different."

A positional switch could occur once third baseman Kevin Youkilis returns from the disabled list. Nearly a week ago, Youkilis was placed on the DL with a stiff back and is currently undergoing a walking program to ease the transition back.

Since being promoted to the Red Sox, Middlebrooks has been swinging a hot bat, belting three home runs and nine RBIs. During Monday's game against the Royals, he misfired on a throw to first and was charged with a two-base throwing error.

Despite the blemish, Valentine believes Middlebrooks' abilities are still very useful in the infield.

"He's a good third baseman," Valentine said. "Yeah, I think he'll have his growing pains, understanding speed of the runner and field conditions. His hands are good. His arm is strong enough. I likes the way he fields off the left, throws on the right and then if he just turns his foot a little, I think his direction will be perfect."

In 375 career games in the minors, Middlebrooks has only played third base.

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