Boston's third baseman was placed on the 15-day disabled list after an MRI revealed a non-displaced fracture of his right index finger. Middlebrooks suffered the injury in the first inning of Friday's 1-0 loss to the Tigers on Ian Kinsler's line-drive infield single.
Brock Holt, recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, played third and batted ninth Saturday in place of Middlebrooks. Holt entered owning a .348 average (8-for-23) and .429 on-base percentage in seven Major League games this season. Holt got the call over prospect Garin Cecchini, who manager John Farrell said still has to develop defensively at the hot corner.
Middlebrooks will spend five to seven days in a splint, according to Farrell, before the team re-evaluates the injury.
"That's when we'll first look to initiate any baseball activity," Farrell said. "It's hard to say, at this point, how long he'll be down."
The fracture occurred when Kinsler's liner dipped under Middlebrooks' glove and caught his bare hand. Middlebrooks was in on the play to guard against a potential bunt.
Middlebrooks stayed in the game, successfully fielding two groundouts while going 0-for-2 with a strikeout until A.J. Pierzynski pinch-hit in the seventh. Farrell said the injury affected Middlebrooks' grip on the bat, and Middlebrooks noted that by the last third of the game, he couldn't even get his batting gloves on.
By Saturday afternoon, the finger was bent, swollen and bruised.
"I was able to hit with [the finger] off the bat, but throwing was tough," Middlebrooks said. "I think I got three or four plays after it happened. I knew the grass was wet, so I could skip it over to [first baseman Mike Napoli] if I needed to.
"I just tried to make it through. I was like, you know, man, just jammed it, bruised it, it'll be better tomorrow, ice it up, whatever. And then it just kept getting worse and worse."
It's the latest in a series of injuries in the recent years for Middlebrooks, who missed three weeks with a right calf strain last month. Sooner or later, he figures, things have to turn around.
"I'm waiting, I'm waiting," Middlebrooks said. "I think I'm pretty due."
Added Farrell: "Injuries are out of the control of anyone. It's an unfortunate situation, but we can't run him out there with a fractured finger. ... We've got to get him right to get him back to us."
Tim Healey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.