By Austin Laymance / MLB.com | 6/14/2012 5:37
The Red Sox visit Wrigley Field on Friday for the first
time since 2005 to open a three-game series with Theo
Epstein was the architect of the Sox's two World Series
champions in '04 and '07 before leaving Boston
after last season to become Chicago's president of
"First and foremost, it'll be great to see
everybody and renew acquaintances with everybody,"
Epstein said. "It'll be fun to have those guys in
Both clubs are struggling in 2012 and have remained in the
cellar of their respective divisions for most of the
season. Looking to get back to .500, the Red Sox will hand
the ball to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka completed his return from Tommy John surgery with
his first start in the Majors in nearly a year last
weekend. Dice-K struck out eight in five innings vs. the
Nationals on Saturday, but he took the loss after allowing
The outing encouraged the Sox and Matsuzaka hopes to build
off his 80-pitch effort in another Interleague start.
"He looks good around the clubhouse," said
manager Bobby Valentine. "He seems to be ready for the
The Red Sox won two out of three games in Miami to start a
six-game road trip, including a 10-2 victory on Wednesday
Chicago is 3-10 in June, opening the month with a 2-8 road
trip. The Cubs enter Friday having lost two of three games
vs. the Tigers to begin a six-game homestand.
Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start for the Cubs. He's
2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 11 starts this season and has won
each of last two outings.
The subject of swirling trade rumors, Dempster met with
Epstein in the stands prior to Wednesday's game vs. the
"It's going to come up -- that's the way it
is," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "The
players know that. You talk to them individually and some
guys maybe haven't had their name out there before and
all of a sudden, it's out there. Sometimes it's a
distraction to players, some understand it happens every
Red Sox: Middlebrooks adjusting to role change
Rookie Will Middlebrooks has seen his playing time diminish
the last three weeks with the return of Kevin Youkilis
after playing every day at third base while the veteran was
on the disabled list.
Middlebrooks is now in a rotation with Youkilis and Adrian
Gonzalez at the corner infield positions. It can be a
challenge for a young player to adjust to a reduction in
playing time, but Middlebrooks is faring well. He is
hitting .318 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last 19
"Yeah, you have to be strong-minded," Valentine
said. "He's watching the game, he's into the
game. If I saw any elevated frustration level or any total
decline in performance, we'd have to make another
decision. It doesn't seem like we're there."
Valentine had a discussion with Middlebrooks once Youkilis
returned from a lower back strain on May 22.
"Kind of -- even though I didn't know how it was
going to be," said Valentine. "I told him to
'Fasten his seat belt. Life in the big leagues,
you're in the fast lane. You're doing great. I
believe in you,' and all that good stuff. Those are
just words. Until you experience it, it means
Cubs: Stewart to DL
Ian Stewart has been playing with left wrist soreness for
over a year, and the third baseman was placed on the 15-day
disabled list on Thursday.
Stewart was hitting .201 in his first season with Chicago.
He will see a hand specialist next week.
"In a way, you hope there is something there,"
Stewart said Stewart. "It has lingered for over a
year, or about a year, and nothing has come up. Maybe
he'll see something different. I should know early next
The Cubs purchased the contract of Luis Valbuena from
Triple-A and he started at third on Thursday vs. Detroit.
Valebuena went 0-for-3 with an RBI
Valbuena was batting .303 in 58 games at Iowa, and had
played mostly second base.
"We got him for a reason," Sveum said of
Valbuena, who was claimed off waivers from Toronto.
"He plays well, hits well, and he drives the ball for
a little guy."
• The Red Sox are 4-5 in Interleague Play this season.
• Cubs outfielder David DeJesus is 4-for-9 in his career
vs. Matsuzaka with one home run and two RBIs.
• In the offseason, Chicago manager Dale Sveum interviewed
for the same position with the Red Sox.