In the first inning of Wednesday night's 5-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, Middlebrooks swung at Chris Tillman's first pitch of his at-bat, he grimaced and appeared to hurt his right wrist, then left the game.
Red Sox fans gasped. Middlebrooks broke his right wrist last Aug. 10 when he was hit by a pitch.
But, by the time reporters were allowed into Boston's clubhouse in the seventh inning, Middlebrooks was dressed and there was no bandage on the wrist.
"It's not as serious as we thought it was," Middlebrooks said.
"It was just more of a scare because the area that it was -- right where I broke it last year. Just took a swing; obviously, it looked pretty awkward. It felt just as awkward as it looked. It was precautionary. I probably could have stayed in the game and looked fine."
Boston manager John Farrell said Middlebrooks' wrist would be re-evaluated Thursday.
Middlebrooks was replaced by Pedro Ciriaco. Farrell realizes how important the third baseman is to the Red Sox.
"We'll get a better read on it tomorrow, but hopefully this is something that's just sort of a short-term thing where he's day-to-day. But everyone saw last year when he was missed in that lineup," Farrell said. "That's a potent right-handed bat. Hopefully this is just a day-to-day type thing, and every indication is that it is just that right now."
The Orioles won both halves of their split squad games, beating the New York Yankees 10-7 in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon. Baltimore is now 5-0 in spring training for the first time since 2001.
The Red Sox brought many of their regulars, and Baltimore gave Tillman his first start of the spring. Tillman allowed a single to Dustin Pedroia in the first, and made it 1 2/3 innings before he was removed.
"It is a long spring, but it's all about getting ready for April. I try not to think about it that way. Just try to get my work in. Pitch when I'm told to pitch," Tillman said.
Tillman, who finally delivered on his potential in the second half of the year, walked two and struck out one.
"First time out, I'm not really disappointed. I felt OK. Command was spotty at best. I guess you kind of expect it for first time out. Other than that, I felt pretty good," Tillman said.
Farrell used relievers throughout the game. Franklin Morales started and pitched the first inning. Joel Hanrahan, Koji Uehara, Andrew Bailey and Junichi Tazawa also pitched. Tazawa allowed Davis' home run.
"To a man, guys came to the mound and threw the ball very well," Farrell said.
Boston DH David Ortiz has left the team for a few days to return to the Dominican Republic to deal with a personal matter, Farrell said. ... Red Sox RHP Alfredo Aceves was added to the roster for Mexico's entry in the World Baseball Classic. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli will make his debut on Friday when the Red Sox host Pittsburgh. Napoli, who joined Boston as a free agent this offseason, is being brought along slowly this after his team physical revealed he has avascular necrosis in both hips. He's playing first instead of catcher as he did most of his major league career. "In time, he'll be a very good first baseman," Farrell predicted. ... Baltimore LHP Tsuyoshi Wada threw 25 pitches in his second bullpen session since Tommy John surgery and will throw another on Friday.