BOSTON -- Stephen Drew is coming back, and Xander Bogaerts will move to third base. That much is known. Less clear is this: What becomes of Will Middlebrooks?
At the moment, Middlebrooks is on the disabled list as he recovers from a fractured right index finger.
Through his first 71 at-bats this season, Middlebrooks is hitting .197 with a .305 on-base percentage and a .629 OPS.
"We've got to get Will healthy first, and we've got to get Will back to game speed," said manager John Farrell. "Until that happens, we'll factor all that in once he does return to us."
One alignment Farrell hinted at is one in which Bogaerts would play short against lefties, opening up a spot for Middlebrooks at third.
This is the second season in a row Middlebrooks has struggled with health and productivity.
"We fully anticipate Will being here," said Farrell "If there are alignments to take advantage of individual strengths, we're going to do that. Without getting too far ahead of myself, that's the best I can tell you right now."
Bogaerts will slide over to third base
BOSTON -- With shortstop Stephen Drew agreeing to a one-year deal that could have him playing for the Red Sox again before the end of the month, Xander Bogaerts will soon slide over to third base.
The Red Sox had hoped that Bogaerts could be their starting shortstop for this season and beyond, but the club's struggles -- and the recent injury to third baseman Will Middlebrooks -- led to the reacquisition of Drew.
Manager John Farrell spoke with Bogaerts about the move before Tuesday's game.
"He said that he felt we're a better team with [Drew]," said Bogaerts. "I guess that's why they went out and get him."
Though Bogaerts was hardly sulking, he clearly had some disappointment.
"My heart is always at shortstop, but they felt we're a better team with him, so as I said, that's why they went out and got him," said Bogaerts. "And I was just feeling so good over there. But they made the decision that they have to make."
Bogaerts wound up making two errors in Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays, giving him six for the season.
Drew made just eight errors in 516 chances last season.
"I try to stay focused, separate defense and offense, but tonight was a tough one. A lot going on," said Bogaerts. "I don't want to make no excuses, but it was definitely a tough day."
Against lefties, Bogaerts will likely get his share of starts at shortstop, particularly when Middlebrooks returns from the disabled list.
Bogaerts and Drew have played on the left side of the infield together before. Bogaerts was the starting third baseman for the final eight games of last year's postseason, beginning with Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
"I kind of did it last year, so I don't think it will be a big problem," Bogaerts said. "The only thing is, you've just got to get your work in at the position you're playing as best as you can."
"There's going to be some repetition to get back acclimated to third base, and that's one of the things we talked about earlier today," Farrell said. "We do have a period of time to take care of some early work so when Stephen's arrival does happen, we can move him back to that position.
"We still believe there's a good athlete there. There's going to be differences to angles, to the length of different types of ground balls, the hops in certain plays, but we feel like he's going to be able to handle that."
While it's easy to think that the 21-year-old will be discouraged by the news, Farrell believes Bogaerts will take it in stride.
"No, not in that way at all, because he's still going to get everyday play. It was more just to be clear for our reasons for bringing Stephen back, what our plan is going forward short term and long term," Farrell said. "Xander is a very logical thinker and it was important to have clarity in his mind and not wonder what's around the corner for him."
Bogaerts is hitting .270 with two home runs and seven RBIs.
"We still see Xander as a shortstop," said Farrell. "That was explained very clearly to Xander. This shouldn't take away, in his mind, what our long-term view of him is. Xander is still a very good-looking young player and a good-looking young shortstop."
At some point, Bogaerts hopes he can call shortstop his primary home again.
"I definitely view myself as shortstop. I keep saying that every day," Bogaerts said, "but I guess now I'll be on the other side."
Red Sox don't expect Drew to be savior
BOSTON -- Though Stephen Drew will bring stability to the infield when he returns, the Red Sox know that they can't expect him to be a cure-all for a team that went 20-23 entering Tuesday's action.
"Any time you sign a god player, it's a positive thing -- a guy who's been here before, a guy who was part of that championship team," said right fielder Shane Victorino. "It's very important, but is he going to be the answer? I won't sit here and say that's the reason why we're going to be that much better.
"It's hard to sit here and go, 'OK, because we signed Stephen Drew, that's the answer.' You don't want to put that pressure on him. You just hope he fits in which he did last year and you take it as a positive that he's part of this team again."
David Ortiz agreed whole-heartedly with Victorino. The Red Sox need to improve in a lot of areas -- not just shortstop.
"We've been playing horrible. We went to Minnesota and the series didn't end well and you saw what happened here in the series against Detroit," said Ortiz. "We keep playing like that, we'll be out of the contest by the end of July. We've got to get things better and start playing better. I think the addition of Stephen is going to help us out somehow, someway."
And how will Drew help?
"He's a very consistent player," said Ortiz. "He knows his role is consistency and how to continue to do things over and over and over which is one of the toughest things to do at this level. He did a good job last year in the World Series."