Will Middlebrooks Dealing With Finger Issue; Other Red Sox Spring Training Notes

Will MiddlebrooksFORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by hosting the St. Louis Cardinals at JetBlue Park.

John Lackey will toe the rubber Monday as the Red Sox don green jerseys in Fort Myers. It’ll be the right-hander’s second spring training start, as he made his spring debut against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

Let’s go over some Red Sox notes before fully immersing ourselves in Monday’s matinee.

-Deven Marrero homered against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. His reward was a reassignment to minor league camp.

Marrero definitely impressed the Red Sox while with the major league club this spring, though.

“A well-above-average defender. Last year, he had a little bit of exposure to us while he was in big league camp. But this year, a very good defender right now,” manager John Farrell said Monday. “And I think he’s settling in to an approach at the plate that’s not only consistent, but one that works best for him. He does have a tendency to tinker with some things, and he’s always searching for what the right feel is. But we’ve seen him the last five, six days really impact the baseball to the pull side.”

-Catcher Christian Vazquez and pitcher Allen Webster were optioned to Triple-A before Monday’s game.

Farrell said Webster was even more impressive this spring than last year. The skipper also said there would be no hesitation to call upon Vazquez this season if something happens to one of the Red Sox’s two major league catchers.

-Will Middlebrooks, who isn’t in Monday’s lineup, was removed from Sunday’s game. The third baseman is dealing with a hyperextended finger on his right hand — an injury he suffered while sliding feet-first into second base Thursday.

Farrell said Middlebrooks, who didn’t participate in batting practice Monday, mostly feels the injury while throwing.

-It’ll be interesting to see how the Red Sox’s lineup shakes out if Grady Sizemore ultimately wins the club’s center field competition. Sizemore has been leading off for Boston with Shane Victorino in the No. 2 hole, and that could be an approach implemented once the regular season kicks off.

“He’s got an ability in the two-hole to play the game a little more,” Farrell said of Victorino. “If there’s a guy on base, he’s got the ability to bunt. He’s already seen some pitches by the guy ahead of him. Can’t deny the track record of what spots in the lineup show and the performance, getting on base particularly. It gives us another guy with some speed at the top or an on-base and speed guy at the top, in addition to who might be leading off with him in the two-hole. The fact that we had (Dustin Pedroia) and David (Ortiz) in the 3-4 hole for pretty much the majority of last year, that’s not a new thing for them, either.”

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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