Will Middlebrooks gets cast off

BOSTON -- Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who fractured his right wrist in a game against the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 10. had the cast removed from his forearm Tuesday.

"It's getting better. It's still pretty sore, really tight," Middlebrooks said. "I'm fresh out of the cast so it's really tight right now. I do feel like I have full range of motion, but it's sore."

He made his major league debut in May and became a fixture in the starting lineup with his solid production both offensively and defensively. At the time of the injury, the 24-year-old was hitting .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 75 games this season.

He said he's been miserable on the disabled list.

"It's not fun. It's been horrible," Middlebrooks said. "We're all competitors and it's hard for us to sit and watch people do what you love to do. Saying that, I am a cheerleader right now and I'm going to be the best cheerleader I can be."

Ever since he suffered the injury, Middlebrooks hasn't stopped honing his skills. He's been taking grounders every day.

"I felt like defensively I was making some big strides this year," he said. "Even weekly, I felt like I was getting better. We created a routine and I wanted to keep doing it, keep getting better. I didn't want it to flatten out. I know I can get better with my glove."

Even though he's still not able to swing a bat, Middlebrooks is hoping to at least be able to work off a tee before the end of the season.

"It's hard to tell because I don't know if [the healing] will stay at this pace, speed up or slow down," he said. "With your swing, your hands and your wrist are very important, so it's nothing I want to rush."