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Red Sox corner infielders looking to break out

Red Sox corner infielders looking to break out

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Red Sox corner infielders looking to break out

DETROIT -- If the Red Sox can get production from their corner positions, it could have a profound impact on their lineup.

Thus far in the postseason, first baseman Mike Napoli and third baseman Will Middlebrooks haven't been able to get untracked.

But that could change quickly. Middlebrooks showed signs that he might be ready to start hitting again with a double in the left-field corner that started the key rally in a 6-5 win in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.

While Red Sox fans have been clamoring for top prospect Xander Bogaerts to get a start, manager John Farrell has stuck with Middlebrooks, who has started all six postseason games.

"It's meant a lot to me," Middlebrooks said. "It's been, obviously, a pretty down year for me. For him to stick with me, especially in this part of the season, it's really important to get wins, and it's meant a lot to me."

Napoli had a better regular season than Middlebrooks and carried the team in stretches. But his bat has been quiet this October. The right-handed-hitting slugger is 2-for-17 with just one RBI.

After sitting against Max Scherzer in Game 2, Napoli will return to the lineup for Game 3 (Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on FOX) against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

"I feel confident every time I go up there I'm going to do something," Napoli said. "They're hitting their spots. They've got good stuff. I've felt fine. I go up there, I'm confident every time. It's not like I'm searching for anything. My BP has been good and my cage work. Yeah, I'm confident every time I go up there."

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

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