Middlebrooks named AL Player of the Week

June, 25, 2012
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday, less than 24 hours after the Red Sox ended all questions about his spot in the lineup by trading away Kevin Youkilis.

The 23-year-old went 10 for 16 (.625) with three homers, three doubles and 10 RBIs over his last six games. During that span, he led the league in batting average, slugging percentage (1.375), on-base percentage (.632) and total bases (22).

“It’s an honor, for sure,” said the understated Middlebrooks, who added he was surprised when he was told he was chosen. “I was just happy I could get some hits and help us win some games."

Saturday’s 3-for-4 performance -- in which he was just a triple short of the cycle – boosted his average to .331 with nine homers and 33 RBIs and put him in elite company through the first 40 games of his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became just the fifth player since 1920 to reach those minimums through 40 games, and the first since Albert Pujols in 2001.

“A lot of people (win player of the week) one time,” Valentine said. “That’s what they always say when someone hits a home run they’ll go over to them and say, ‘Anyone can hit one in a game.’ It’s a nice honor. He had a great week.”

After Youkilis was traded Sunday afternoon, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington acknowledged that Middlebrooks’ outstanding start made a move necessary.

“I think we were trying to find a solution that worked for everyone,” Cherington said. “Kevin’s been an everyday player since he’s been here and with the way [Will] Middlebrooks has been playing, Middlebrooks needs to be in the lineup. That’s pretty clear.”



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