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Red Sox vs. Blue Jays: Will Middlebrooks returns, excuses run out

Will Middlebrooks is back in Boston's lineup, which means there's no more convenient injury excuses for the Red Sox.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Will Middlebrooks will make his return Friday night as the Red Sox take on the Blue Jays meaning that, for the first time this season, the Red Sox have their full lineup available. In other words, there's no excuses left for losing quite so many games.

Today's Lineups

Dustin Pedroia - 2B Jose Reyes - SS
Shane Victorino - RF Melky Cabrera - LF
David Ortiz - DH Jose Bautista - RF
Mike Napoli - 1B Edwin Encarnacion - 1B
Jonny Gomes - LF Dioner Navarro - C
Xander Bogaerts - SS Juan Francisco - DH
A.J. Pierzynski - C Brett Lawrie - 3B
Will Middlebrooks - 3B Colby Rasmus - CF
Jackie Bradley - CF Ryan Goins - 2B
Jake Peavy - RHP Mark Buehrle - LHP

How much, though, does Will Middlebrooks really bring to the table with his return? If this were April of 2013, I'd say quite a bit. But 2013 is behind us now, and it's a long time since Middlebrooks first impressed us all with his early power shows in 2012. Honestly, between him and a hot Brock Holt, we may actually be seeing a downgrade in the short-term.

Of course, not every game is going to be like yesterday's disaster. God help us if they are. But even so, this team needs more than just getting Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks back to get to where they want to be. It's more a matter of good players playing as well as we know they should then getting different ones into the lineup.

First pitch is at 7:07 EST (because Canada is a strange place) with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.