Will Middlebrooks has been sidelined for almost a month. He’s now scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, albeit with a slight change.
Middlebrooks, who tested out contacts during spring training, will try out prescription sports glasses while with the PawSox. Middlebrooks is slightly nearsighted but found contact lenses to be a pain.
“They were tough for me to hit in,” Middlebrooks told WEEI.com’s Joon Lee on Friday in Pawtucket. “They dry out a lot, the dirt and everything. It’s hard to play baseball in contacts. If you get dirt in them, you can’t just wipe it out. You have to get in there with the eye drops, and you need someone else to help you. I’m going to try them out. It’s something different and I’ve tried them a couple of times in BP and it’s definitely weird, but it’s going to be a process for me.”
Middlebrooks said he mostly needs the glasses for night games, when the ball can become a little blurred. Since there’s going to be an adjustment period, Middlebrooks has sought the advice of Stephen Drew and Jonathan Herrera, both of whom have worn glasses either in games or during warmups.
Middlebrooks, who hasn’t played since May 16 because of a fractured finger, was expected to DH with Pawtucket on Friday and play third base Saturday. Friday’s contest was rained out, however, so he’ll need to wait another day to return to game action. The 25-year-old certainly is chomping at the bit, even though it’s unclear when he’ll return to the big league club and what role he’ll assume upon doing so.
“I need to get timing,” Middlebrooks said. “I need to get comfortable with it and get in a rhythm here, offensively and defensively. Just baseball in general. That’s my goal right now. I don’t have a timetable set, like six games, 15 games. I’ve got to get healthy and need to get into a rhythm.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday that Middlebrooks, who also missed time this season with a calf injury, could spend up to the maximum 20 days that a position player is allowed to spend on a rehab assignment before the club must make a move.
“I’m not saying we’re going to use every day of that, but we’ve got to get him going and get the right-handed power bat that we know and believe and trust is still there,” Farrell said.
Perhaps the new eyewear will help in that regard.