Injuries lead to new-look Sox

Will Middlebrooks has made the most of his callup from the minors. (REUTERS)

Will Middlebrooks has made the most of his callup from the minors. (REUTERS)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:09 PM ET

Adrian Gonzalez was at his old stand at Fenway Park Thursday night: First base.

It's where he won three Gold Gloves.

It's the position at which he started all but one of his 905 starts in the majors entering this season.

He did make 38 starts as a DH, but the outfield? That's where his line drives went.

Gonzales had made one start in right field with the 2005 Texas Rangers and two last season with the Red Sox.

However, since Kevin Youkilis made his return from the disabled list May 22, Gonzales has made eight starts in right.

Promoted to replace an injured Youlikis, Will Middlebrooks is producing with the bat at third, so Youkilis moved to first and Gonzalez took over in right.

Where will Gonzalez be this weekend at the Rogers Centre? Scooping balls at first or tracking fly balls in gap in right-centre?

Probably at first, with the Blue Jays set to use three right-handed starters.

Either Ryan Sweeney or Scott Podsednik will be in right field for Boston.

After a 1-5 start to the season and some adjusting to new manager Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox are rolling, despite battling through injuries: Left fielder Carl Crawford (out with elbow injuries), centre fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder), right fielder Cody Ross (broken foot), outfielder Darnell McDonald (oblique), outfielder Jason Repko (neck) and outfielder Ryan Kalish (shoulder).

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia has not played since Sunday, yet remains on the active roster. So Boston has been going a man short.

Pedroia is waiting for swelling to subside in his right thumb. Then, he'll begins swinging a bat with a specially equipped thumb brace.

After his debut, Gonzalez explained to writers: "I'm a defensive specialist, it's not like I'm hitting."

The first baseman told the manager he would play right again after his first start.

To replace the injured players, the Red Sox have recalled the likes of infielder Che-Hseun Lin and Daniel Nava from triple-A Pawtucket. Podsednik, 36, who homered in his debut, was hitting .203 at triple-A Lehigh in the Philadelphia Phillies system when the Sox acquired him.

Crawford and Ellsbury aren't due back until July, while Ross is out for roughly six weeks and Kalish is on a rehab assignment at double-A Portland.

Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzake started Thursday at Pawtucket and is not far away from a return. McDonald also is at triple-A.


WHO'S HOT

  • 3B Will Middlebrooks was promoted May 2 and is hitting .316 (30-for-95) with seven doubles, six homers and 21 RBIs in 24 games going into Thursday's finale in Detroit. He has an OPS of .922.
  • INF Kevin Youkilis is batting .321 (9-for-28) with two homers and three RBIs in seven games since coming off the disabled list on May 22. When he went on the DL he had been hitting .219 (14-for-64) with two homers and nine RBIs in 18 games.
  • RP Andrew Miller had his sixth hold with a strong eighth inning on Wednesday, retiring 33 of the 42 batters he has faced with 15 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings
  • SS Mike Aviles is hitting .290 (18-for-62) in his previous 15 games with five doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs and an .802 OPS.

WHO'S COLD

  • Clay Buchholz owns a 4-2 record but he has a 7.19 ERA, allowing 107 base-runners -- 75 hits, 28 walks and four hit batters -- in 56 1/3 innings.
  • OF Daniel Nava is hitting .167 (3-for-18) in his last five games with four RBIs.
  • Carl Crawford (left wrist surgery, left elbow soreness) said before Tuesday night's game he was about 10 days away from beginning a throwing program.

ELLIOTT'S TAKE

The last time the Jays saw the Red Sox was the Jays' home-opening series. Boston came in 0-3 and the Red Sox could have lost all three at Rogers Centre. Boston won opening night when Sergio Santos couldn't hold a 2-1 lead in the ninth. Then Boston dropped the next two for a 1-5 start. These Red Sox had won 13 of their previous 18 heading into their game against Detroit Thursday night.

PREDICTION

The Jays are a young team, and the biggest problem young teams have is finding the ability to be consistent. The Jays may think they have an advantage on one, maybe two pitching matchups Friday and Sunday, but we see Boston winning two of three.


Videos

Photos