On the heels of second baseman Dustin Pedroia's thumb injury, the team had Will Middlebrooks take grounders as a shortstop on Wednesday. But Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has a method for his madness by trying his rookie third baseman in a new spot.
"[Middlebrooks] was a good high school shortstop, so he can play another position," Valentine said. "It's something to have. He's going to take a grounder at shortstop — because Mike [Aviles] has played second."
It's an alternative to keep Middlebrooks' bat in the lineup. That way, the Red Sox can slide Adrian Gonzalez back to first base ?? as opposed to right field ?? and prevent any possible defensive hiccups.
In the meantime, Valentine has alternated between sitting Kevin Youkilis and Middlebrooks. On Thursday, Youkilis started at third in place of Middlebrooks, partly because Valentine plans to sit Youkilis at least one game in Toronto.
"We're going to AstroTurf [on Friday in Toronto]," Valentine said. "It's going to be a limited number of days that I think Adrian should be out in that outfield with AstroTurf. That's one [stadium] that I want to bring him in.
"Why not Middlebrooks than Youk? We're going to AstroTurf and Youk's not going to play all three games on AstroTurf, so he'll get his day off there."
And Aviles isn't a newbie to second base. Throughout his four years with the Royals, he patrolled the position in 142 games.