FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the first time since Aug. 8 of last season, Will Middlebrooks was able to trot around the bases on Tuesday night after belting a ball over the fence.
Middlebrooks sat back on a hanging curveball from Team Puerto Rico right-hander Nelson Figueroa and crushed it well over the Green Monster in left-center.
It was a good feeling for Middlebrooks, who fractured his right wrist last Aug. 10.
"It felt good," Middlebrooks said. "It felt good to hit a ball hard. My first at-bat this spring, I hit one hard and then since then, I haven't really had good contact over the past couple of games, so it felt good just to see a curveball early, stay back and hit it hard."
This was a far better feeling for Middlebrooks than six days earlier, when he felt discomfort in his right wrist on a check swing and had to leave the game. Fortunately, Middlebrooks wasn't actually injured in that case. He thinks it was just some scar tissue breaking up.
"Yeah, I've got to get over mentally thinking about it and worrying about it," said Middlebrooks. "I'm going to be sore. I'm going to have tightness. That's just getting back into it. That's what happens after an injury like that. It's more of a mental thing and just being able to let it go."
Middlebrooks could be a huge factor in Boston's lineup this season if he can build on what he did his rookie year.
"Over the last couple of days he's been a little more aggressive at the plate, particularly with some pitches on the inner half," said manager John Farrell. "As every guy gets additional at-bats, their timing gets a little better, they get more comfortable in the box, and that's what's taking place with Will."
Ortiz runs bases again without incident
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As planned, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz had a shorter day of running on Tuesday than he did Monday, and he was encouraged after running home to first four times and home to second once. The significant part of the activity is that it marked the first time Ortiz has run the bases on consecutive days since Spring Training started.
Barring unusual soreness, Ortiz will run again on Wednesday and could get into a game before the week is out.
"I think we're going to work off of David's response to the work sessions," said manager John Farrell. "The fact that he's able to get back on the basepaths today and feel pretty good about himself before going into it is a pretty positive sign. We're hopeful, but again, we're not going to rush this for a matter of a date this week on the calendar."
Ortiz said the biggest problem he is having at this point is soreness in his right Achilles once he cools off. He is working with the training staff to try to fix that.
Return date for Morales uncertain
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Left-hander Franklin Morales, who last pitched on Feb. 27, remains sidelined with lower back issues, and there is no current timetable for when he will be back on the mound.
"Well, he's still having some low back symptoms, although they are responding favorably to treatment," said manager John Farrell. "We're going to initiate some exercise today with him -- some core stability type program, but we don't have a date marked on a calendar for when he's going to get back on the mound, even in a bullpen session, let alone a game."
Another lefty reliever who has been slowed in camp is Craig Breslow.
"It's a scheduled day off today for him with no throwing," Farrell said. "He'll be out from 75 to 90 feet tomorrow. He's still in the early stages of that throwing program."
Nava getting work in right field
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daniel Nava's quest to become more versatile does not just include reps at first base. In Tuesday night's game against Puerto Rico, the Red Sox gave Nava the start in right field.
Nava has mainly played left in his previous stints with the Red Sox.
"That's why he's out there right now," said manager John Farrell. "I know he played there a couple of times last year, but he's improved tremendously in left field. But given the potential makeup of our bench and our extra outfield situation, the ability to go to right field would be key in his situation -- not to say his roster status hinges on that, but we want to take a look at it."
Nava is in competition for a roster spot with Lyle Overbay, Mike Carp and Ryan Sweeney. Two of those four players could get spots on Boston's bench.
• Although Jackie Bradley Jr. has been one of the most impressive players to watch in the early portion of exhibition games, he's still all but certain to open the season in the Minors, barring an injury.
"Likely," said Farrell, "but you never want to put a limit on anyone, either. He's making the best of the opportunity, and he's making a very strong impression."
• Daniel Bard, who felt he took an encouraging step forward in a simulated game on Monday, is slated to get back into Grapefruit League action on Thursday against the Twins. The righty has been working on mechanical issues. His last Grapefruit League outing was Feb. 25.