Valentine opts to rest Middlebrooks, Crawford

Valentine opts to rest Middlebrooks, Crawford

BOSTON -- The Red Sox had two key players out of the lineup on Sunday, as Carl Crawford and Will Middlebrooks both got a day to rest.

Middlebrooks missed the last six games before the All-Star break with a hamstring injury, then started the first nine games of the second half. Nick Punto started at third, batting ninth.

"This is a day game after a night game where it might be tested, so I don't want to test it," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

Crawford made his season debut on Monday and played in six straight leading up to Sunday. Daniel Nava took his place in left field, batting second.

"Yeah, Carl's going to have to some of these days [of rest] coming back and this is one of them," said Valentine.

Jacoby Ellsbury didn't play on Saturday, but Valentine thinks he'll be able to play a more rigorous schedule than Crawford.

"I don't know how much Jacoby is going to need," Valentine said. "Again, Carl didn't have Spring Training and Jacoby did. Jacoby had one [Saturday]. I don't know that he's going to need a whole bunch more."