As Youk progress, Middlebrooks struggling

As Youk progress, Middlebrooks struggling

As Youk progress, Middlebrooks struggling
PHILADELPHIA -- While top prospect Will Middlebrooks is dealing with the first rough patch of his Major League career, third baseman Kevin Youkilis went 1-for-3 during his second rehab game Friday night with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Middlebrooks is batting .105 (2-for-19) over his past five games. Manager Bobby Valentine said Middlebrooks isn't getting figured out, he's just "regressing towards the mean," and change wouldn't be the best idea.

"You'll hear a lot about 'making adjustments' and all other things that I consider kind of nonsense," Valentine said of Middlebrooks. "The adjustment is ... know who you are, be who you are, stay there, and I think he's doing that."

"Guys start making adjustments and then they get back to who they are," said Middlebrooks. "I raised my hands, I opened my stance, I stride less, I'm taking the first pitch, I'm doing all these things and they're 1-for-36. Hey, what are you doing now? Hold on, just seeing the ball like I used to. I'm feeling good and I'm back to who I am."

As for Youkilis, who is out with a lower back strain, Valentine said "he seems very healthy now," and just needs to see some more pitches.

When will Youkilis return?

"Whenever he says he's ready and the training room says he's ready," Valentine said. "It seems like he played a good game the other day. ... He could be back soon."