Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/25/12
Editor's note: Didier Morais will review each position for the Red Sox for the 2013 season. A new era is upon the Red Sox at third base. Midway through the 2012 season –– when Boston shipped out Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox after nine seasons –– Will Middlebrooks officially took the reigns as the franchise's third baseman of the future. Through 75 games, Middlebrooks wasted no time proving his value in the big leagues, launching 15 home runs and 54 RBIs while hitting .288. As each week went on, the 24-year-old's defense improved. But on Aug. 10, his sensational rookie ride ended when Indians reliever Esmil Rogers nailed him on the wrist with a 95 mph fastball. It wound up being a broken wrist that sidelined Middlebrooks for the rest of the season. During the last series of the season, Middlebrooks' rehab took a promising turn, when he took batting practice for the first time since the injury. Afterward, he admitting to feeling surprised about his strength. Even so, Middlebrooks will use the offseason to heal and prepare to return to spring training with full health. Like Dustin Pedroia at second base, third base is one of the few positions on the roster that has a long-term solution. Should Middlebrooks get injured down the road, the Red Sox still have depth at the position with Pedro Ciriaco –– who filled in for Middlebrooks down the stretch during the 2012 season. Naturally a shortstop, Ciriaco honed his craft at third base and demonstrated the necessary range to thrive, if necessary. The Red Sox also traded for Danny Valencia to offer additional depth as well. Ultimately, there are no questions here. With a year of experience under his belt, Middlebrooks is primed to maintain his offensive momentum next season when he's cleared for action. Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.
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