One year and one day after trading away Kevin Youkilis to make room for Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox have sent the young third baseman to Triple-A Pawtucket. Utility man Brandon Snyder has been called up to fill the roster spot.
Middlebrooks, 24, hit .288/.325/.509 (120 OPS+) with 15 home runs in 75 games last year before a pitch broke his wrist and ended his rookie season in August. In 53 games this year, he hit just .192/.228/.389 (62 OPS+) with nine homers while missing time with back spasms.
Baseball America ranked Middlebrooks as the 51st-best prospect in the game before last season, saying he "is an aggressive hitter who doesn't walk much and may not hit more than .275 or so in the majors" in their 2012 Prospect Handbook. In 128 career big-league games, Middlebrooks has 130 strikeouts and only 22 walks.
Snyder, 26, hit .267/.338/.470 with 10 home runs in 63 Triple-A games this season. He's a career .276/.324/.418 (97 OPS+) hitter in parts of three big-league seasons. Infielder Jose Iglesias, who has hit .426/.479/.565 (180 OPS+) in 33 games this year, figures to man the hot corner full-time.
To clear a 40-man roster spot for Snyder, catcher David Ross was transferred to the 60-day DL. He is dealing with concussion issues.