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Middlebrooks could move up in batting order

Middlebrooks could move up in batting order

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Middlebrooks could move up in batting order

BOSTON -- Third baseman Will Middlebrooks has been batting ninth in manager John Farrell's batting order since his return from Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 10. But with the Red Sox lacking power from the right side, Middlebrooks could move up in the near future.

"That possibility certainly exists," Farrell said. "He's going to tell us when he's ready. As we've seen of late, the bottom half of the lineup has fluctuated a little bit, and we're trying to ride a little bit more of the hot hand at times and when the matchups might present themselves to be an advantage. That can happen in time."

Since his return, Middlebrooks has swung the bat well, going 7-for-18 entering play Friday.

"You know, he looks more relaxed in the box -- that's probably the biggest thing that stands out right now," said Farrell. "Prior to being optioned back, I think there was a tendency to try to make up for some previous at-bats. That's not the case now. He's playing a little more free of mind.

"He's made a number of good passes while at the plate. He gives us the potential to lengthen out the lineup with a power bat in the order, so he just looks more understanding of what not only his checkpoints are, but how he can address a certain pitch, particularly on the outer part of the plate."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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