MINNEAPOLIS -- The three young players in Boston's starting lineup -- Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- have all been struggling of late. However, manager John Farrell is preaching the importance of patience in all three cases.
"These are our guys," Farrell said. "That's what I'll continue to stress. They need to feel the support and confidence from us as a staff, me included, to help them get through their times when things might not be clicking as well as they or we would like. That's where giving them opportunity allows them to work through it."
Is there a certain point the Red Sox need to consider alternatives if the players are still slumping?
"I don't know that there's a breaking point," said Farrell. "We fully acknowledge and accept that there was going to be some peaks and valleys with guys along the way. But we still go back to the abilities that each possess and their work ethic. Those are going to be ingredients that are going to allow a guy to perform with some dependability."
Middlebrooks, who is the most experienced of the trio, took a .197 average into Wednesday's game.
"Will has been in a little bit of a streak here where he's searching a little bit," said Farrell. "We need them to perform to their abilities and contribute to be the team that we can fully envision us being."
Bogaerts and Bradley, both rookies, are hitting .252 and .219 respectively.
"In Jackie's case, his approach is improving with each game," Farrell said. "He's picking out certain pitches he's addressed early in the count, such as in the seventh inning last night. He's trusting what his eyes are telling him inside a given game, how certain pitchers are going about an attack plan and taking note of the hitters prior to his at-bat. We're seeing that grow. And yet, we know that that's all part of that process of becoming established Major League players."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.