Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday after an MRI showed a Grade 1 strain in his right calf.
Middlebrooks, who was hitting .231 with a home run, was a late scratch before Saturday night’s loss to Milwaukee because of the ailment.
After dealing with back and rib issues last season, he was looking forward to a season free of nagging injuries. It’s the third time in as many seasons that the 25-year-old has landed on the DL.
“He was disappointed yesterday when he first felt the calf grab him,” manager John Farrell said. “Today’s exam probably confirmed some of the thoughts of yesterday based on the way he was reacting and responding to the sprints that he went through and what he felt afterward.
“Unfortunately, we’re missing a power righthanded bat that was getting off to what looked to be a pretty darn good-looking start.”
The Sox called up Brock Holt from Pawtucket. He will share duties at third with Jonathan Herrera, who played there Saturday night and Sunday, going 1 for 4 in both games.
“We’ll see what the matchup might provide with those two guys,” Farrell said.
The possibility of calling up prospect Garin Cecchini was tempting — the 22-year-old is hitting .556 through his first three games with the PawSox — but Farrell said he thought it was too soon.
“While he’s had good at-bats, there’s still some development defensively that’s taking place,” Farrell said. “His time is coming, but we didn’t feel like it was right now.”
With the PawSox playing an afternoon game against Lehigh Valley, Holt originally was in the lineup as the leadoff hitter. But when he heard about Middlebrooks’s injury, he said he figured he might get a call.
“It was on my radar,” Holt said. “Any time someone goes down up here, wheels start spinning. So it was on my radar. I went to Pawtucket this morning expecting to play there and now I’m here. So happy to be here.”
Middlebrooks hit his first home run of the season Friday in the Sox’ home-opening loss to Milwaukee.
“When you lose guys like Will — one of the thunder in the lineup — it makes it different,” designated hitter David Ortiz said. “But we’re going to hang in there until he gets back and try to go back to business.”
Ortiz, who took a scheduled off day Saturday night except for a pinch-hitting appearance, said he was dealing with some soreness in his calf as well as some dehydration.
“The doctor helped me out with some hydration and I’m moving forward with that,” Ortiz said. “I’m starting to feel better.”
Lower back tightness forced Mike Carp out of the starting lineup Saturday night, but Farrell said Carp was available had the Sox needed him Sunday. After getting treatment, Carp was healthy enough to step in for the final two innings at first Saturday night and took some swings off the tee Sunday.
“Like other situations, we’re monitoring it and he’s going to have some management of it but not to the extent of taking him away from us,” Farrell said.
Nava stays positive
When Daniel Nava blasted a 3-and-1 pitch back to the mound in the third inning, Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo was lucky enough to get a glove on it before it took him with it to center field.
For Nava, though, it was another unlucky out.
With seven line drives to his name this season, Nava’s hit his share of balls hard even though he hasn’t racked up the hits to show for it.
Nava, a career .245 hitter in March and April, has started the season 3 for 26 with a pair of singles and a double. In six games, he’s hit leadoff, third, and sixth. As the leadoff man, he’s 1 for 13.
Eventually, he said, he figures things will even out.
“I just look at it like, you hit it hard and then after it leaves your bat, you don’t really control that,” Nava said. “So I’ll take that over not hitting it hard. You’ve got to be positive with that stuff. We’re so early in the season that to look into every single at-bat is going to drive you crazy. So I just try to look at the whole.”
Back in right field Sunday after moving to first for Carp Saturday night, Nava went into the stands down the line to grab a Jeff Bianchi fly ball in the second inning. He took his time walking back to his position after running into the short fence to make the grab.
“I’ll be fine,” Nava said.
He was charged with an error earlier in the second when a Mark Reynolds RBI single got past him, allowing another run to score.
First replay challenge
A bang-bang play at first on a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground ball in the second inning led to Farrell’s first replay challenge of the season.
Bradley bounced a ball down the right side to second baseman Rickie Weeks, who bobbled it looking to turn a double play. Weeks’s snap throw got to first just as Bradley was crossing the bag.
The original ruling was that Bradley was out. Replays showed he indeed was out by a step and the call on the field was upheld.
“To the naked eye in the dugout, I thought Jackie beat the ball out,” Farrell said. “Rather than us being in a second-and-third situation with two outs, I felt like it was a worthy situation to challenge it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t overturned.”
The challenge took 1 minute 38 seconds to resolve.
Pedroia streak at 8
Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to eight games, dating to last season, with a single in the first. He’s hitting .432 over that stretch . . . Xander Bogaerts, who led off the second with a single, has a hit in five of the Sox’ six games this season . . . A.J. Pierzynski pinch hit for David Ross with two outs in the ninth and grounded to first on a first-pitch fastball. He’s swung at the first pitch in 10 of his 16 at-bats this season. Fourteen of his at-bats have been three pitches or fewer . . . The Sox went 2-4 against the Rangers last year, getting swept in Texas last May, but taking two of three games at Fenway in June.Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.