Middlebrooks: Hamstring 'not a big deal'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks hopes to be in the lineup Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to Kansas City with tightness in his left hamstring.

“It’s not a big deal,” Middlebrooks said after the game. “It’s just kind of a precautionary thing, coming out of the game. I’ll hopefully be back in there.

“It’s just cramping, tightness in my hamstring. We didn’t want to mess with it.”

The source of the tightness, which also forced Middlebrooks out of Saturday’s game, hasn’t been determined. Manager Bobby Valentine said the rookie has been drinking extra fluids to avoid dehydration.

“They didn’t know why he would be cramping up,” Valentine said. “We couldn’t take a chance.”

Middlebrooks said he felt his hamstring tighten after lining a second-inning double, his fifth extra-base hit in as many major league games since being called up to fill in for the injured Kevin Youkilis. He hobbled slightly while running to third and eventually scoring, but returned to the dugout thinking he could remain in the game.

After examination, Boston replaced Middlebrooks with Nick Punto as a precaution.

“Of course I wanted to keep playing, but we’re trying to take the safe route here,” Middlebrooks said. “That’s what we did. I planned on going back out.”