Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks acknowledged that he "probably [will] not" play again this year, but he is making progress in his recovery from a pair of fractures (to the pisiform and triquetrum bones) in his right wrist that occurred when he was drilled by a fastball from Indians right-hander Esmil Rogers. On Tuesday, he was examined and told that he can stop wearing a hard cast on his wrist and only needs to wear a soft cast sporadically.
He no longer is experiencing pain in the wrist, but he is still working to regain motion. That being the case, the healing process will not permit him to play in another game before the end of the year, but Middlebrooks is trying to "get as close to game-ready as I can. I'm going to approach it like I'm trying to be back. I at least want to be taking [batting practice], going into the offseason knowing that I'm 100 percent. Probably about two weeks into the offseason I'll be able to do that. That way I can go into my workouts and I won't have anything to worry about and these guys won't have anything to worry about."
Middlebrooks said that he plans to return to Athletes' Performance in Frisco, Texas (where he worked out last offseason), to prepare for the 2013 season. The rookie -- who turned 24 on Sunday -- finished the year with a .288 average, .a 325 OBP, a .509 slugging mark, an .834 OPS and 15 homers in 75 games in the big leagues this year. He became the first Red Sox player in his age 23 season to hit 15 or more homers since Nomar Garciaparra launched 30 as a rookie in 1997.
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