Now Commenting On:

Middlebrooks adapting well to new role

Middlebrooks adapting well to new role

Middlebrooks adapting well to new role
MIAMI -- Before Kevin Youkilis returned from the disabled list, Will Middlebrooks was playing every day. Of late, he's been part of a rotation between Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez, with the three players jockeying for two spots in the lineup.

While it's sometimes hard for a young player to deal with unpredictable playing time, Middlebrooks has handled it well. He is hitting .339 over his last 18 games.

"Yeah, you have to be strong-minded," said manager Bobby Valentine. "[Hitting coach Dave Magadan] is so good at the work he gives the guys. I think they really do stay ready -- as ready as you can. He's watching the game, he's into the game. If I saw any elevated frustration level or any total decline in performance, we'd have to make another decision. It doesn't seem like we're there."

Did Valentine have a conversation with Middlebrooks once Youkilis re-entered the mix?

"Kind of -- even though I didn't know how it was going to be," said Valentine. "I told him to 'Fasten his seat belt. Life in the big leagues, you're in the fast lane. You're doing great. I believe in you,' and all that good stuff. Those are just words. Until you experience it, it means nothing."

It has been clear that Middlebrooks can handle anything thrown his way.

"You have to like what you see," Valentine said.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español