Middlebrooks scratched; lineup reshuffled

BOSTON -- About two hours before Saturday's first pitch Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was forced to make a lineup switch.

Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks was scratched from the original starting lineup because of a tight left hamstring. He was replaced by Nick Punto, which prompted Valentine to make alterations in his original lineup. He listed Punto as the leadoff hitter and dropped Ryan Sweeney from first to sixth.

Middlebrooks had played in two games since being recalled from Pawtucket on Wednesday when Kevin Youkilis was placed on the disabled list. Depending on his availability later in the day, Valentine was operating with a very thin bench for the game against the Orioles. The only healthy position players on the bench are outfielder Darnell McDonald and catcher Kelly Shoppach.

Designated hitter David Ortiz was moved up to the third spot for the first time this year, and shortstop Mike Aviles dropped from leadoff to fifth as Valentine continues to search for a lineup will produce consistently.

The new lineup:

Punto 3b

Dustin Pedroia 2b

Ortiz dh

Adrian Gonzalez 1b

Aviles ss

Sweeney rf

Cody Ross lf

Jarrod Saltalamacchia c

Marlon Byrd cf

Aaron Cook starting pitcher