Will Middlebrooks showing he belongs 

May, 8, 2012
5/08/12
11:41
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It was probably somewhere between the first and second home runs Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks bashed in Kansas City on Monday night that the tweets and emails really started coming in: Should I drop Player A to add this awesome prospect? Or can I really trade Player B for him? Middlebrooks is 8-for-21 after four games, with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs, and I'm guessing Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine isn't questioning whether he's mentally or emotionally into the game.

[+] EnlargeWill Middlebrooks
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyWill Middlebrooks has three homers in just four big league games.
Of course, that last comment was in reference to Valentine questioning Kevin Youkilis' drive a few weeks into the season, and while there's little doubt where Youkilis (back) will slot in when he's ready to play again -- and it will be at third base -- there's no denying that Middlebrooks certainly looks ready to help the Red Sox. There's no room at first base, unless Adrian Gonzalez going 0-for-8 on Sunday (including a strikeout versus an infielder who was pitching) was truly a harbinger, and the designated hitter spot is ably filled by David Ortiz, the team leader in home runs and RBIs.

While Middlebrooks is good enough to stick around for Boston and hit for power, a healthy Youkilis is certainly good enough to send him back to Triple-A Pawtucket until opportunity presents itself again. It seems doubtful either one of them, or Gonzalez, will play left field any time soon. It took Middlebrooks four games to match the nine RBIs Youkilis delivered over 18 contests, and he already has surpassed Youk's extra-base hits. This could all be viewed as ironic, but no matter how much Red Sox fans pine for this kid to stay in Boston, if Youkilis is ready to play Monday, when he's eligible to come off the DL, he will, and the kid will not.

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