After weeks of splitting time at third base with Kevin Youkilis, the rookie has officially taken the reigns of the position –– now that Youkilis has been traded to the White Sox for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart.
Moving forward, the 23-year-old will have more clarity when it comes to his role in the organization. Now instead of being the young prospect, he'll be the cornerstone of the Red Sox for years to come.
"We all know this is a business, but at the same time, it's a game and our livelihood," Middlebrooks said.
Through 41 games with the Red Sox –– some that he began on the bench –– Middlebrooks has raked at the plate, unloading nine home runs and 34 RBIs with a .326 batting average.
He has performed even better when Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine elected to bench Youkilis. During the past five games, Middlebrooks homered three times and collected nine RBIs en route to winning American League Player of the Week honors.
"With the way Middlebrooks has been playing, Middlebrooks needs to be in the lineup," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "That's pretty clear. Bobby has done the best job he can at juggling the parts he's had here the last few days and trying to get people in the lineup as much as possible and move guys around. But it was a challenge."
Now that Middlebrooks doesn't have to deal with inconsistent playing time, his future is even brighter. With a clear mind and a constant routine, he'll be to have more peace of mind on game days.
"If we can come in and have more of an idea playing everyday it slows things down for everyone," Middlebrooks said. "It's comforting for sure."
Especially for the Red Sox.
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