Will Middlebrooks is out for a second straight game on Wednesday due to a sprained wrist. (Getty Images)

John Farrell: Injuries not solely responsible for Will Middlebrooks' struggles

September 24, 2014 - 2:59 pm
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Will Middlebrooks, who was scratched just prior to the start of Tuesday's game against the Rays, is once again out of the lineup on Wednesday due to soreness in his left wrist. Manager John Farrell suggested that the third baseman is "day to day at this point," but suggested that the team is hopeful that his season is not over. "We'€™re going to continue to press and push to get him on the field as much as possible in these final five days even though one of them is today and won'€™t be on the field," said Farrell. Tomorrow, through the weekend, we need to get him on the field as much as possible." At a time when there will be just four games beyond Wednesday's contest, and with Middlebrooks having little remaining opportunity to improve his dreadful season stat line of a .191 average, .256 OBP and .265 slugging mark, Farrell was asked to explain the urgency he expressed for an opportunity to evaluate the 26-year-old further this year. "More than anything, if a player is capable, we'€™re not just wanting to shut someone down," Farrell said. "That'€™s not a precedent that we want to set or enable, to be honest with you." It has been a year in which Middlebrooks rarely has played at full health. He spent time on the DL with a calf injury. His current wrist sprain is believed to be related to when he got hit by a pitch in May. He lost months to a finger that was fractured by the line drive. The result has been fitful playing time at the big league level, which in turn has contributed to some of Middlebrooks' struggles to remain in a sustained offensive groove. That said, Farrell said that it would be a mistake to view Middlebrooks' struggles as simply the product of injuries. He's been healthy enough to play. His limited production -- particularly the absence of his characteristic home run power (he has hit just two homers in 63 games this year) -- is not entirely a function of health, in Farrell's view.

"I don'€™t think he'€™s been limited any different than other players who deal with nagging ailments over the course of a full season. There'€™s been times when he'€™s been unavailable. To say it'€™s to the extent that he can'€™t go or can'€™t play, we'€™re not at that point," said Farrell. "He'€™s missed time over the past couple of years as we know. The inconsistent playing time has had some effect. To say that there'€™s something existing here, sure, he'€™s banged up a little bit. Is that the sole reason why the power numbers have dropped? I can'€™t say that it is."

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