It was hard to determine the wreckage even when the orange cloud of dust cleared.
Chasing a foul pop in the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s 6-1 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park, Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks had crashed back-first into the wall near the Minnesota dugout while sliding to make a catch.
Catcher David Ross was chasing the ball, too, folding up at the last minute when he realized he was about to run into Middlebrooks. They plowed into each other, but Middlebrooks managed to hang on. At that point, the game was scoreless, and the catch kept Ryan Doumit at third base (although he scored on a single by the next batter, Wilkin Ramirez).
Middlebrooks and Ross got up gingerly, trying to shake off the pain. But as soon as Ross crouched for the next pitch, he said, it bit him.
“I squatted down and I felt it as I got down in my stance,” Ross said. “I was tight. I felt the swelling coming down in there and then when I got to get up in my ready stance — as far as a man on third if I’ve got to block a ball or something — I couldn’t even get up. Any time I engaged my quad, it was pretty sharp pain.”
He left immediately. Middlebrooks stayed in another inning, but he ultimately had to leave for tests.
The play left Ross with a left quad contusion. For Middlebrooks, what was causing the pain in his right side was unclear. They joined the growing list of wounded Sox.
Ross, wearing a compression sleeve on his leg after the game, said he hoped Middlebrooks didn’t catch the brunt of the collision.
“I hope [it’s not] ribs,’’ he said. “It’s like your knee as a catcher. It’s just nothing you want to mess around with. Ribs in this game, you use your obliques for everything. I just hope it’s the same kind of thing, just some kind of bruise. We’re a little banged-up right now. Kind of weathering the storm as far as the team goes.”
With Middlebrooks out, the Sox had to go to utilityman Pedro Ciriaco at third. He made two consecutive eighth-inning errors that proved costly.
Ciriaco had played third 39 times in his four-year career before Tuesday night, but should Middlebrooks’s injury force him to sit out, manager John Farrell said he has confidence in Ciriaco’s fielding.
“That was uncharacteristic of Pedro tonight,” Farrell said. “He’s shown to be a very capable defender. Two miscues are unlike him. Long term we don’t think Will’s situation is more than day-to-day at this point. We’ll certainly get a better read when test results come back.”
Hanrahan on DL
With Joel Hanrahan hitting the disabled list Tuesday, joining Andrew Bailey on the DL and leaving a crater at the Red Sox closer spot, the 1:30 a.m. phone call early Tuesday morning to righthanded prospect Allen Webster was the most logical first step as Farrell sorted out the Sox’ pitching issues.
“We’re able to go down and get a very good young pitching prospect, a good young righthander that’s got power stuff,” Farrell said.
Webster, one of the Sox’ top prospects, was called up from Triple A Tuesday and will make his second appearance with the big league club Wednesday night against the Twins. Felix Doubront, who had been scheduled to start that game, will go to the bullpen to add depth with Hanrahan (right forearm tightness) and Bailey (right biceps strain) out.
Doubront’s stint in the pen will only be for this turn through the rotation, though, Farrell said.
“The reason behind that is as we’re going through this couple-day period to somewhat regroup and get our pitching back on track, this was the only way that we could communicate to everyone involved — pitchers — that this would be a concrete plan over the next couple days," Farrell said.
“So Felix will be in the pen . . . It’s anticipated at this point that the next time through the rotation Doubront will be back in.”
Webster, acquired Aug. 25 from the Dodgers in the deal that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez to Los Angeles, made his major league debut April 21 in the Sox’ 5-4 loss to the Royals. He went six innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, striking out five and walking just one. He got a no-decision.
In four starts with Pawtucket this season, he’s 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 20 innings.
“I think everyone looks forward to seeing that guy on the mound,” Farrell said. “He’s got great stuff. He’s showed he’s got very good poise in the first outing he made for us and we’ll see it again [Wednesday].”
The decision to send Doubront to the bullpen comes on the heels of his shortest outing of the season, a 3⅔-inning loss to Texas Friday in which he gave up six runs on 12 hits.
Iglesias needs time
Farrell didn’t go into great detail in explaining the reasons behind Jose Iglesias’s recent benching with Pawtucket, but he did say that the shortstop needed time to regroup. Iglesias was pulled from Saturday’s game against the Durham Bulls. At the time, PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina said he was fine and called it a manager’s decision. But Tuesday night, Iglesias sat out for the third straight game. “Just in the reports from the Triple A staff is that they felt it was best that he needed some days to regroup,” Farrell said. “Kind of get back to what it is that’s allowed him to be a very good player, experience success. He’s dealing with some things.” Iglesias, who was sent down April 10 when Stephen Drew was activated from the DL, played well in six games with the Sox, going 9 for 20 with three runs scored. But in 19 games with the PawSox, he has struggled, hitting just .235 with 11 strikeouts. In the six games before being pulled, Iglesias went 3 for 19 . . . Franklin Morales will pitch two innings Wednesday with Double A Portland. Morales has been on the DL since spring training when he suffered a lower back strain. Late last month, he was set back by a left pectoral strain.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.