After sitting third baseman Will Middlebrooks for the opening game of the team's three-game series against the Rays, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said prior to the game Friday that he didn't view the move as giving Middlebrooks a day off. Sitting Middlebrooks allowed Adrian Gonzalez to return to first base and for Kevin Youkilis to move back to third base.
"[I] kind of gave Adrian a day off from running out in right field," Valentine said.
Gonzalez has played four of the last five games in right field for the Sox, though each appearance in the outfield for the slugger has come away from Fenway Park. Valentine hinted that though the challenges of playing right field in Fenway Park can be "treacherous," the possibility exists that Gonzalez could see time in right this weekend.
"There's a chance of that happening," he said when asked if Gonzalez could play right field on Saturday, "but you never know what's going to happen between now and then."
As for Middlebrooks, Valentine said one of the challenges of keeping the youngster in the lineup is that there doesn't seem to be another position for him to play in the field other than third base.
"I keep asking if there's another position and I keep hearing no," Valentine said. "Other than DH, I'm not sure what that would be. We have experimented with some things, though. I wouldn't say it's out of the realm of possibility, but it hasn't been discussed in a light that has inspired me."
Valentine also said that relief pitcher Andrew Bailey, who has yet to play this season due to a thumb injury, has begun throwing. Daisuke Matsuzaka (Tommy John surgery) will throw less than 90 pitches for the PawSox on Saturday.
Regarding Boston's injured outfielders, Valentine said Darnell McDonald (oblique) will play five innings for Triple-A Pawtucket and get Saturday off, while Carl Crawford was being examined to see if he could swing a bat. Ryan Sweeney "doesn't have much stiffness in his neck," according to the manager, and Cody Ross' foot "feels great."
"In his mind," Valentine said of Ross, "it shouldn't be much more than the disabled list he's on."
Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a fractured navicular bone in his left foot.
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