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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Middlebrooks wrist injury 'just a scare'

By Gordon Edes

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Less than seven months after his right wrist was fractured by an errant pitch, third baseman Will Middlebrooks gave the Red Sox a scare when he appeared to reinjure the wrist on a checked swing in the first inning of Wednesday night’s exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles.

But Middlebrooks insisted to reporters that’s all it was -- “a scare.” No X-rays were taken, he said, and while he is scheduled to be re-evaluated by the Red Sox medical staff Thursday, he said no MRI has been scheduled and wouldn’t rule out taking batting practice.

“It was precautionary," Middlebrooks said. “It felt weird, an awkward swing."

Manager John Farrell said Middlebrooks reported he felt a “zinging sensation” in the wrist.

“What we’ll check is just how he comes in in the morning," Farrell said. “If there is any overnight soreness or swelling, certainly every precautionary test will be done at that time. But everything was encouraging based on tests tonight, the manual tests."

Middlebrooks was hurt on the first pitch from Orioles starter Chris Tillman and immediately left the game after being checked by head trainer Rick Jameyson, hurling his helmet into the dugout as he headed down the steps. He was replaced by Pedro Ciriaco, who completed the at-bat.

“I was just frustrated," Middlebrooks said. “I've been busting my butt to get this thing back to where I can play, and in my head I was worried there might be a setback. I didn’t think I broke it again, but it was just an awkward feeling. Worried me for sure. But I feel fine."

Middlebrooks said he felt discomfort in the outside of his wrist, the same place where he sustained a fracture last August.

“It was a fastball up and in," he said. “I checked it, and I don’t know if I let my hand slip off the bat or what, but it didn’t feel right. Precautionary. Probably could have stayed in the game, stayed in that at-bat just fine, but we just wanted to make sure everything was fine because of the break last year.

“It was just kind of a freak thing, and just kind of scared everybody. Scared myself. Not a big deal. We’re going to re-evaluate tomorrow, and hopefully it won’t be more than a day."

Middlebrooks said the medical staff speculated the pain might have resulted from scar tissue.

“That’s what we’re leaning to," he said, “but I’m not a doctor. I wish I was. That’s what we’re leaning toward. Nothing broken, nothing torn, just a scary, awkward swing and they wanted to make sure everything is fine. There’s no pain there now."

Last Aug. 10, Middlebrooks, whose emergence was a factor in last year’s trade of Kevin Youkilis, was hit in the right wrist by a fastball from Indians pitcher Esmil Rogers in the ninth inning of a 3-2 Sox win in Cleveland. The pitch fractured two bones in the wrist, but he did not have surgery. He finished the season with a .288 average in 75 games, with 14 doubles, 15 home runs and 54 RBIs.

Middlebrooks said he has felt “very little” soreness in the wrist this spring. “A little tightness after BP, but no real pain. That’s going to happen when you break a couple of bones.”