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McGair: Middlebrooks reacts to getting HBP, fight between PawSox, Bisons

July 18, 2014

By BRENDAN McGAIR
bmcgair@pawtuckettimes.com

PAWTUCKET – The night was August 10, 2012. The setting was Cleveland’s Progressive Field.

In the top of the ninth inning of that night’s American League contest between Boston and Cleveland, Will Middlebrooks had an Esmil Rogers’ pitch go off his right wrist that proved to be the final pitch he would see in his rookie season. A few days later, Middlebrooks was diagnosed with a broken wrist.

“He didn’t mean to hit me then,” said Middlebrooks on Friday night after getting plunked with an offering from (guess who?) Rogers on the back in the fifth inning. The third baseman, who was playing his first game in a week, clearly took exception as he took his time walking down to first base.

“I thought tonight … I didn’t agree with tonight just because there was a base open,” said Middlebrooks, who played all nine innings in Pawtucket’s wild, come-from-behind 4-3 win over Buffalo. “I’m not going to charge the mound, especially here (at McCoy Stadium). I’m here to get innings, not try to fight people.

“Did it (tick) me off? Yeah, it would (tick) anyone off,” Middlebrooks continued. “(Rogers) is a big leaguer and he knows better than that. He’s a good guy and a good pitcher and I think his emotions got the better of him.”

With tempers reaching Fahrenheit levels, Pawtucket DH Corey Brown walked in the direction of Rogers after striking out to end the sixth inning. The display prompted both benches and bullpens to empty as away the PawSox and Bisons went, shouting and pushing before things calmed down and order was eventually restored.

“(Rogers) made a gesture toward our dugout. He’s better than that,” said Middlebrooks, who played all nine innings and went 0-for-2 with one RBI. He plans to play for the PawSox Saturday. “He apologized and I doubt it will happen again. You live and you learn. Sometimes your emotions get the best of you.”

Said PawSox manager Kevin Boles, “The display on the mound was a little bit questionable and our guys got a little bit fired up about it. If guys are going to get beat, do it with class. Our guys aren't going to back down. We know that and we saw that tonight.”

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03

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