SARASOTA, Fla. -- Third baseman Will Middlebrooks left Wednesday night's Grapefruit League game against the Orioles in the first inning with soreness in his right wrist and will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
Middlebrooks, facing Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman with two outs and runners on first and second, tried to check his swing and immediately stepped out of the batter's box clutching the wrist. He was met by members of the training staff as he walked back toward the dugout, flinging his helmet as he exited the game. He was replaced by Pedro Ciriaco, who got the Sox on the board with an RBI single in the third inning.
Middlebrooks fractured his right wrist last August but said earlier this spring that he is "absolutely 100 percent right now. ... I feel as it did before it got hit."
Boston can hardly afford to lose the 24-year-old Middlebrooks for long. Middlebrooks obviously brings a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup, as he posted a .288/.325/.509 line in 286 plate appearances as a rookie in 2012.
But more important, the Red Sox don't have much Major League-ready depth at third base. Ciriaco would likely fill in for the short term, and top prospect Xander Bogaerts -- a shortstop who should play some third base for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic -- will likely become part of the conversation if Middlebrooks is out for an extended period of time.
Ciriaco played 76 games as a utility man for Boston last year, batting .293 with a .705 OPS while playing all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop and third base. Bogaerts, 20, reached Double-A Portland as a 19-year-old last season, compiling a .307/.373/.523 line with 37 doubles, 20 homers and 81 RBIs between Class A Advanced Salem and Portland.