Red Sox option Middlebrooks to Triple-A

06/26/2013 2:07 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

After a promising start to his career, Will Middlebrooks finds himself back in the Minors.(AP)
The Boston Red Sox have optioned third baseman Will Middlebrooks to Triple-A Pawtucket in an effort to increase his playing time and break him out of a season-long slump.

Middlebrooks, who just returned to the team on June 10 after missing 16 games with a lower back strain, was hitting just .192 with nine homers and 25 RBI in 53 games for the Red Sox, and he has struck out 60 times in 213 plate appearances. Boston manager John Farrell told the media Tuesday night that the emergence of Jose Iglesias -- who is hitting .434 in 113 at-bats as of Wednesday -- as a third base option made it difficult to get Middlebrooks regular at-bats, hence the re-assignment.

Middlebrooks burst on the scene in a similar way in 2012, being called up when Kevin Youkilis was injured, and he went on to hit .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBI in 75 games.

To replace Middlebrooks, the Red Sox purchased the contract of infielder Brandon Snyder from Triple-A, and transferred catcher David Ross (concussion) from the 7-day to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.

Boston also made a bit of a pitching shuffle over a 24-hour span surrounding Franklin Morales' injury; the team called up former Mets right-hander Pedro Beato from Pawtucket after placing Morales on the DL with a strained chest muscle Tuesday, then optioned Beato back to Triple-A on Wednesday and recalled RHP Clayton Mortensen.

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