Will Middlebrooks threw his helmet in disgust. The young third baseman thought, at least for a second, that the hard work he put in during the offseason while recovering from a wrist injury was all for nothing. Middlebrooks, who missed the tail end of 2012 with a broken right wrist, gave Red Sox fans quite the scare on Wednesday when he exited Boston’s spring training game against Baltimore in the first inning after an awkward swing against Orioles starter Chris Tillman. Fortunately, it looks like Middlebrooks has avoided disaster, but it certainly wasn’t before many Sox fans — and Middlebrooks — feared the worst. “It’s not as serious as we thought it was. … Everything as of now seems fine,” Middlebrooks told reporters Wednesday in the Red Sox’ clubhouse. “It was more of a scare because it was of the area it was, right where I broke it last year. I just took a swing — obviously it looked pretty awkward, and it felt just as awkward as it looked. It was more precautionary. I probably could have stayed in the game and been fine, but they just wanted to make sure everything was alright.” Middlebrooks will be examined again on Thursday, but the slugger’s optimism is a welcome sight, especially given his importance to the Red Sox’ offense this season. In his first taste of big league action, Middlebrooks hit .288 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in just 267 at-bats over 75 games. He established himself as one of Boston’s most dangerous offensive threats during that short time, and the hope has been that he’d be able to bounce back from last season’s wrist injury to pick up right where he left off before going down in August. “I was just frustrated,” Middlebrooks said of Wednesday’s close call. “I’ve been busting my ass to get this thing back to where I can play. In my head, I was worried there might be a setback, and I don’t think there’s going to be. It worried me for sure, but I feel fine. … It was just kind of a freak thing that scared everybody, including myself. It’s not serious. Like I said, it was just a scare — it scared me, it scared everyone else, but we’re just making sure. It’s not a big deal.” The Red Sox need to pray that Middlebrooks’ injury really was “just a scare.” His presence in the order is a necessity if the Red Sox are going to muster up enough offense to overcome any pitching shortcomings that may once again plague them in 2013.

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