Will Middlebrooks Reminding Red Sox What It Looks Like When Baseball Is Easy

by NESN Staff

May 8, 2012

Will Middlebrooks Reminding Red Sox What It Looks Like When Baseball Is Easy

Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine's words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.

When Will Middlebrooks was called up to the major leagues, he packed a suitcase and some personal effects.

He did not bring bone spurs, bulging discs, stressed tendons, arm pain or any of the other injuries that often afflict baseball professionals.

There's no doubt anymore whether Middlebrooks is ready for the bigs. The question now is how to keep him there.

"He hit a right field foul pole and the left field foul pole, and I've never seen a guy do that," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "He's hit the ball as hard as anybody I've ever seen in the first week of a major league debut."

Middlebrooks didn't quite hit the right field foul pole with his first home run on Monday night, but everything else about Valentine's assessment was correct. Middlebrooks' two-homer, five-RBI night was part of a 3-for-5 performance. The third baseman is batting .381 with nine RBIs so far in his major league career.

Perhaps the best thing about Middlebrooks right now, though, is the way he looks when he plays. Sure, the production is there, but so is something else. He's got the intangibles that Boston players are known for — the intangibles this team has needed desperately this year.

Middlebrooks came up to the big leagues believing that he should be playing in the majors. He's taken that view into every at-bat and come out with the numbers to back himself up.

He plays with drive and presence — and a swing so smooth you?d think he didn't need any training to learn this game. That's not true, of course. Middlebrooks has put in his time learning baseball.

In that way, Middlebrooks fits into the pantheon of Red Sox greats who have practiced their whole life then grabbed hold of their birthright once they got a chance in the big show. His raw talent evokes memories of those who have made it look easy from the first time they dug in next to home plate at Fenway Park.

He's a natural right now, a breath of fresh air next to other members of the Red Sox crew who are still having trouble finding their stuff.

Yes, with each day he puts up better numbers, the questions grow of where Middlebrooks fits with this year's team long-term.

But he's here right now. Red Sox fans have a little more time to sit back, watch the balls arc toward the fence, and enjoy the latest Boston player that makes the game look easy.

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