Will Middlebrooks isn't returning to the Red Sox lineup until 2013, but that doesn't mean he can't rehab in the meantime. That's just what he's doing, too, working his way back from the broken wrist that ended his season, and was the first nail in the proverbial coffin of Boston's 2012 that went all the way through the wood.
While Middlebrooks can't swing a bat yet -- something that he expects will happen in a few weeks' time -- he did play catch on Tuesday. It seems minimal, but when you're not allowed to perform any kind of baseball activity for months, throwing on a glove and tossing a baseball around is a significant milestone in your recovery.
In a year that didn't have Mike Trout in it, Will Middlebrooks would have been making a solid case to be the American League Rookie of the Year, given his .288/.325/.509 line with 15 homers in 75 games. Mike Trout does exist, though, in this and potentially other universes, and just might finish his rookie campaign as a 30/30 player who leads the league in steals and OPS+. Sorry about the timing on that one, Will.