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Will Middlebrooks returns to Red Sox lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Will Middlebrooks is back in the lineup. He hyperextended his right middle finger on Thursday at the Twins. He attempted to play Sunday at the Rays, but only lasted two innings in the field. He said his finger is feeling good, still a little sore but it doesn’t hurt. He said his grip, which had bothered him when attempting throws more than at the plate, is much better.

“Went through a full day of activity yesterday,” manager John Farrell said. “Threw quite a bit both in terms of his throwing program and taking ground balls. So he’s back in tonight. He’ll probably go tonight and then both games on the road Friday and Saturday.”

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  Farrell said the regular Red Sox lineup could be on the field every day beginning Sunday.

  Lefthander Craig Breslow threw a bullpen session Wednesday. He is scheduled to throw live batting practice to major league hitters on Friday and could get into his first game on Monday.

  Closer Koji Uehara has yet to pitch in a save situation this spring, and actually has yet to pitch after the eighth inning. Farrell may look to change that soon.

“I think there’s a lot of merit to start to get particularly the relievers’ minds thinking along with the game and anticipating when their time is coming inside an outing,” Farrell said.

  Farrell would like to get a look at others in center field, including Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava, as well as Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley, Jr. But, he may have to get somewhat creative, keeping in mind there is a position competition going on and that regulars will be playing deeper into games.

“Shane will probably get some reps [in center] mid next week,” Farrell said. “We’re still getting him built up to the number of innings and at-bats inside a given game. We still have a competition in center field, have to be cognizant of that and that means the majority of the reps are going to come between Jackie and Grady.

“So we might see Daniel Nava in center field game on a Triple A game, just to get some reps out there as well. So those are all things that are being factored in, and being sensitive to a sincere competition going on in center.”

  The Red Sox are tied with the Cubs for the major-league lead with 23 home runs in 20 spring games. The Sox had just 17 home runs in 35 Grapefruit League games last year.

  Wednesday is the Sox’ sixth of seven spring games with the use of instant replay available. The final spring game with instant replay available will be Sunday against the Rays.

 Catcher David Ross turned 37 Wednesday.

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