The rookie takes it all in.
In April 1982, third baseman Wade Boggs made the Red Sox after six years in the minors. He only got into 10 games through May, because Boston had a defending AL batting champion on third in Carney Lansford. Then, in late June, Lansford suffered a broken ankle and Boggs was given a chance to take his place.
The rookie took advantage of the situation, to put it mildly. Boggs went 10-for-20 in his first five games as a starter, hit .364 in June, .387 in July and .386 in August -- stroking the ball with a regularity that fans would get used to over the next decade. When Lansford came back in late July, manager Ralph Houk kept Boggs in the lineup by moving him to first base.
Boggs launches another one toward the Monster.
Could Middlebrooks pull a Wade Boggs and take Youk's job for good? Will he excel enough to prompt the Red Sox to trade their popular but slumping (and oft-injured) third baseman for some pitching help?
Time will tell, but it will be fun to see how the rookie takes advantage of his opportunity. He hasn't hit for as high an average overall as Boggs did in the minors, but he was batting .333 with nine homers in just 27 games at Pawtucket when called up yesterday. Then, in his first ML game, he went 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base.
Middlebrooks was a bright spot on a dismal night.