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Middlebrooks returns as Sox third baseman

Middlebrooks returns as Sox third baseman

Middlebrooks returns as Sox third baseman

KANSAS CITY -- Will Middlebrooks walked into the Red Sox clubhouse on Saturday afternoon and accepted a series of hugs and handshakes.

"Welcome back," shouted right fielder Shane Victorino.

And with that, Boston had its third baseman for the forseeable future.

Middlebrooks made his first game back a memorable one on Saturday night as he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in Boston's 5-3 win over the Royals.

"After the first at-bat, I felt comfortable," Middlebrooks said. "I was seeing the ball well. I'm here to try and help this team win a World Series. That's what it's all about."

After a stint at Triple-A Pawtucket, Middlebrooks was recalled to the Major League club with Brandon Snyder going on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow irritation. Middlebrooks was hitting .269 at Pawtucket with 10 homers and 34 RBIs.

Over his last eight games, Middlebrooks was hitting .333 with two homers and said he had been feeling particularly good at the plate.

The lessons of a demotion to Triple-A have stuck with Middlebrooks.

"You can't take all this for granted, because you can lose it real quick," Middlebrooks said. "I am going to take it day by day, have fun and help this team win games."

Middlebrooks was dealing with a back issue when he was sent down on June 25. He was hitting .192 through 53 games and struggling mentally as well as physically.

"I think it was a little of both," Middlebrooks said. "It feels good just to be able to go out and play and not think about [the back]." Middlebrooks admits his early time at Pawtucket was challenging.

"The first couple of weeks were tough, because I didn't want to be there," he said. "I didn't see the big picture of things. But I got over that. It was a really good foundation for me to get my feet back under me and get back to the basics."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Middlebrooks will be getting the majority of time at third base. Middlebrooks was in the lineup and hitting ninth on Saturday against the Royals. Brock Holt had started the opening two games of the series at third.

"[Middlebrooks] has put himself in a better position to hit over the last seven to 10 days by getting a little more squared up with his stance," Farrell said. The Red Sox organization chose not to bring up highly touted prospect Xander Bogaerts at this juncture.

"Xander is continuing to improve in the smaller parts of the game in his development path," Farrell said. "Right now, he needs continuing reps. It's a matter of who's the best fit right now for the needs we have to be the everyday third baseman."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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