Red Sox notebook: Will Middlebrooks retires, Blake Swihart avoids arbitration, Writers Dinner tickets available

John Tomase
January 11, 2019 - 11:05 am
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Will Middlebrooks is calling it a career.

According to the Boston Globe, Middlebrooks has decided to retire after a six-year career marred by injuries.

Middlebrooks, 30, hit 17 home runs for the World Series champion Red Sox in 2013, but he never lived up to the promise suggested by his 2012 debut, when he hit .288 with 15 homers and an .835 OPS in 75 games as basically the lone bright spot in an otherwise lost season under Bobby Valentine.

Middlebrooks suffered a devastating leg injury in spring training with the Phillies last year, breaking his left fibula after colliding with teammate Andrew Pullin. He missed the entire season.

He played for Padres, Brewers, and Rangers after the Red Sox and for his career hit .228 with 43 homers. The starting third baseman for half of 2013, he lost his job to rookie Xander Bogaerts in the American League Championship Series and was limited to three innings during the World Series, though they proved eventful -- he was called for interference in Game 3, which allowed the winning run to score in a 5-4 win by the Cardinals.

His wife, former NESN reporter Jenny Dell, took to Twitter to salute him on Friday. The couple had their first child, a girl, in October.

"I've watched this man do everything in his power to rehab his leg/ankle back to playing shape but unfortunately, there is no coming back from the last injury," Dell wrote. "He has so much more to give to the game... I can't wait to see what's next for him. Beyond proud of @middlebrooks."

RED SOX AGREE WITH SWIHART

The Red Sox avoided arbitration with catcher/utilityman Blake Swihart, agreeing to a one-year, $910,000 deal, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is already on record that he'd prefer to trade one of the team's three catchers before spring training, there's no guarantee it would be Swihart, who possesses higher offensive upside than either Sandy Leon or Christian Vazquez.

Swihart hit .229 in 82 games last year. His best stretch came in July, when he hit .412 with a 1.091 OPS before being sidelined by a hamstring strain. He never found his groove and hit just .222 thereafter.

BASEBALL WRITERS DINNER TIX AVAILABLE

Tickets remain available for the 80th annual Boston Baseball Writers Dinner, which will be held next Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Intercontinental Boston. Roger Clemens and former Red Sox broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson will be honored, along with Red Sox players and front office members. For tickets, visit the Sports Museum.

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