A tale of three Red Sox third basemen, including a Panda on the pine

Sandoval has lost the starting 3B job to Travis Shaw . . .

Sandoval has lost the starting 3B job to Travis Shaw . . .

Will Middlebrooks has accepted an assignment to Colorado Springs (AAA) after he was told days earlier he wouldn’t make the Milwaukee Brewers roster out of spring training. Earlier this month, manager Craig Counsell suggested Middlebrooks might have a better chance to make the Brewers as a backup first baseman if he showed any aptitude for the position.

Maybe he did defensively, but Middlebrooks’ still sleepy bat killed his chance of sticking with the Brewers, to whose camp he was a non-roster invitation. And the chances of the once-glittering, former Red Sox third base prospect catching on elsewhere may be thread thin.

As we turn toward spring training’s final week . . .

Fifty cent fines for mental mistakes . . .

Fifty cent fines for mental mistakes . . . may not be as chintzy as they look on the surface . . .

Joe Garagiola, RIP: An erudite Everyman

Joe Garagiola (right) with (from left) Joe Buck and Harry Caray, not long after Garagiola joined the Cardinals' KMOX broadcast team. (Photo: KMOX.)

Joe Garagiola (right) with (from left) Jack Buck and Harry Caray, not long after Garagiola joined the Cardinals’ KMOX broadcast team. (Photo: KMOX.)

If you’ll pardon the expression, Joe Garagiola—who died at 90 Wednesday—made it necessary for the Yankees to sign Yogi Berra. And, in turn, the U.S. Senate made it necessary for Garagiola to transition from a journeyman catcher to a broadcaster. Which story would you like to read first?

“This game is supposed to be fun!” Don’t tell the Goose

Bryce just wants to have fun while owning the National League . . .

Bryce just wants to have fun while owning the National League . . .

Before you decide that Bryce Harper needs to beat his gums a little less, when he unhorses a schpritz against baseball getting tired, remind yourself that he really earned his bones on the matter last September. When he called out Jonathan Papelbon for throwing twice at Manny Machado’s head, after Machado had bombed Nationals pitching otherwise, then took it on the throat from Papelbon in a disgraceful incident for which Papelbon got, essentially, a season-ending slap on the wrist.