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February 28. 2013 8:46PM

Farrell says Middlebrooks injury is 'benign'

BRADENTON, Fla. - The Will Middlebrooks wrist scare keeps getting downgraded.

Thursday morning, manager John Farrell said the injury, after being checked out by Red Sox team doctor and wrist specialist Dr. Tom Holovacs, was "benign."

The third baseman could take batting practice as soon as tomorrow, said Farrell.

"At the time of the swing it was not real encouraging but given what he came through with the fracture a year ago I can understand that he was a little tentative and a little scared, but fortunately this morning things checked out OK," said Farrell.

No X-rays or MRIs were taken or are expected to be taken.

Middlebrooks, himself, had a similar reaction when approached by reporters.

"I'm fine, man. Same as last night," Middlebrooks said. "Just scared. It scared me. I felt just an awkward feeling, awkward movement of the wrist. It was the initial zing of pain and that was it. I expect to be fine. I'm fine right now. I could have swung a bat last night."

The pain was the result of an action that's hard to prepare for in batting practice, since it generally occurs only against live pitching in the adrenaline of a game.

"That was my third game, and I hadn't check-swung," he said. "Normal swings felt fine. Normal check swings will probably be fine, too. I just got caught in between and it was just awkward all around. I saw it this morning. It didn't look good. It didn't look good. It just freaked me out. It was just a weird feeling. I didn't want to take a chance with it because of the history of that wrist."

Middlebrooks wanted to make one thing clear.

"I'm not hurt," he said. "I've got my tail tucked a little bit. That's about it. I told them I feel like I could go through the workout today and be fine. Just scared, not an injury, so we'll see."

In the third base/utility infielder depth mix are Brock Holt, Drew Sutton, Pedro Ciriaco and, Farrell reminded everyone, Xander Bogaerts.

Lackey struggles

John Lackey allowed three runs on three hits over two innings on Thursday in the Red Sox' 16-6 win over the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. Boston, which scored four runs on four walks with the bases loaded, plays the Pirates tonight in what is expected to be Mike Napoli's Red Sox debut.

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