Sunday January 23, 2011 | 09:43 AM

Look at Will Middlebrooks' numbers in pro baseball and nothing jumps out at you. A .267 career average, with a career-high 12 home runs last year.

But the Red Sox see the potential in Middlebrooks, 22, which is why he will be the Portland Sea Dogs third baseman this season.

Middlebrooks could probably put up bigger numbers if he stayed in Class A, but the Red Sox philosophy is to constantly push their prospects (which is why Casey Kelly began his first full season as a pitcher in Double-A last year).

Both Middlebrooks and Kelly were drafted out of high school, where the risk is always greater. But sometimes the gamble works out (Ryan Kalish comes to mind).

For more on Middlebrooks and other prospects, see the Sunday column.

And for you're baseball pleasure, if you're interested in reading more about the Rays acquiring Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, see the St. Petersburg Times.

Former Sea Dogs manager Arnie Beyeler made an appearance with his new organization, the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Providence Journal has the story.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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