Middlebrooks out of lineup, could head to DL

Middlebrooks out of lineup, could head to DL

OAKLAND -- Though the Red Sox are hopeful Will Middlebrooks has just a nagging left hamstring injury, there seems to be a good chance the third baseman won't play in this three-game series against the Oakland Athletics.

"The latest on Will is that he feels better today than he did yesterday and better than he expected to be today," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "That's the only news we have -- that's good. It's not discolored, and that's good, but it's going to be some days [before he can play]."

The way the roster is currently set up, the Red Sox have 13 pitchers and 12 position players. With Middlebrooks out of the mix, Valentine had only two players on his bench -- utilityman Brent Lillibridge and catcher Kelly Shoppach.

The Red Sox will likely add a position player to the roster by Tuesday. The question is this: Does that mean Middlebrooks will go on the disabled list or will the Sox send down a pitcher?

Both scenarios are currently in play.

With the All-Star break coming up next week, Middlebrooks could go on the disabled list retroactive to Monday and he could be activated by fifth game after the break, which is July 17.

If the Red Sox can avoid putting Middlebrooks on the DL, perhaps he could play in this weekend's four-game showdown against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

"We won't let the calendar dictate it," Valentine said. "We'll just see how he feels. Maybe DL, maybe a few days. It's just one of those injuries. I think we've had them before."

Nick Punto filled in for Middlebrooks at third for Monday's game.