All-Star notebook

Harper and Trout are fans of Middlebrooks

Young standouts were teammates

By Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / July 11, 2012
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before they were All-Stars, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout suited up with Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League last year.

The team finished 14-22. Trout hit .245 with five RBIs over 25 games while Middlebrooks lasted only 13 games before being shut down with a thumb injury.

Only Harper (.333, six homers, 26 RBIs) hit well for manager Arnie Beyeler, whose full-time job is managing Triple A Pawtucket.

“We didn’t play as well as we wanted to. Long games,” Trout said Tuesday night before the All-Star Game. “It was tough for me, tough for Harp. We had a long year.”

Both players had high praise for Middlebrooks, who is hitting .298 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 48 games for the Sox.

“Great dude,” Trout said. “Hung out with him, got a chance to meet him and know him a little bit. We talk maybe three times a week, shooting each other texts.

“He’s a great player and he’s got a great glove. He’s got pop in his swing.”

Said Harper: “He’s an unbelievable ballplayer. He has power to all fields and he’s going to be a great talent for the Red Sox for years to come. The wall is going to be a lot of fun for him to hit some balls over. He’s an unbelievable talent, great guy, and a lot of fun to hang out with and be around.”

Trout, 20, and Harper, 19, have a good rapport. During their news conference, a question was asked whether they pushed each other.

“We don’t like each other,” Trout said, laughing.

“It’s like [Larry] Bird and Magic [Johnson]” Trout interjected. “I’m Bird.”

Harper later said that he hoped to play with Trout one day.

“I think him playing center field and me playing right field, it will be a 1-2 punch,” Harper said.

Attention Red Sox, start planning.

Red Sox huddle

The Red Sox, according to a team source, held their annual midseason meeting on Monday, during which they evaluated the entire team.

The meeting included general manager Ben Cherington and manager Bobby Valentine as well as owners John Henry, Tom Werner, and president Larry Lucchino.

All subjects were on the table, including the coaching staff, a player-by-player evaluation, and what the team could do as far as player personnel moves before the trading deadline.

The Sox also have a lot of roster issues coming up with Jacoby Ellsbury possibly returning to the squad on Friday in Tampa Bay and righthander Clay Buchholz coming off the disabled list to start on Saturday.

The Sox are 2½ games out of the second wild-card spot and right now there are no plans for the team to deal off anyone unless it is to clear out redundant players, mostly outfielders.

The Sox are a few million over their luxury tax threshold, making it difficult to determine whether they can add more payroll. They recently saved $1.5 million by releasing Bobby Jenks from his contract.

The Sox will hold a workout Thursday at Tropicana Field at 6 p.m. At that time there may be some roster moves to announce.

MLB down on film

Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner were asked about the Valentine-produced documentary “Ballplayer: Pelotero,” which comes to the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline for a preview Wednesday and opens there on Friday.

The film exposes some of the corruption associated with the signing of Dominican players.

“I haven’t seen it. I’ve been told about it. I’m looking forward to seeing it,” Selig said. “We spent a lot of time in the Dominican Republic and the people that are down there as well as those up here are satisfied we’ve made an enormous amount of progress. [Current Mets GM] Sandy Alderson went down there and did a tremendous job. We’ve replaced a lot of people.

“We thought there were parts of it, from what I’ve been told from those who watched it in the office, that it was inaccurate. I expressed our concerns to Red Sox ownership and that was it. What they did from there is up to them.”

Said Weiner: “I have met some of the filmmakers. There aren’t a lot of headlines that are going to come out of this, but that somebody has a problem with something Bobby Valentine did, that’s pretty big headlines.

“Seriously, I don’t think it’s Bobby’s involvement. They expose the types of practices . . . it’s not an easy thing for MLB to see and I know that it wasn’t a complimentary treatment of some of the facets of the way MLB has handled it down there.”

MLB officials have said they believe the film is outdated because so much of the corruption has since been cleaned up.

Valentine declined to comment.

Derby doings

A day after Robinson Cano was savagely booed by Royals fans angry that he did not select Billy Butler to the Home Run Derby, MLB is considering changes that would guarantee hometown players in the event.

The same thing happened in Phoenix in 2011 when Prince Fielder did not select any Diamondbacks for the Derby.

“I felt badly [Monday] night,” Selig said. “Robinson Cano certainly picked people he thought should be on it — as Prince did last year and [NL captain] Matt Kemp did this year. I understand hometown loyalties and I’m sympathetic to that, but this was tough.”

The New York Mets will be the host team for the 2013 All-Star Game.

Interleague changes

The inter-region interleague rivalries — Athletics vs. Giants, Cubs vs. White Sox, Mets vs. Yankees, and Dodgers vs. Angels — may be reduced from six games to four, according to Weiner. The current plan calls for six games only once every three years. The other years would be a pair of two-game series . . . Weiner said the MLBPA would file a grievance if the Indians dock the pay of pitcher Nick Hagadone, who injured his left hand when he punched something following a poor outing on Saturday. He then was demoted and placed on the disqualified list. “If Nick is not paid what he in our view is supposed to be paid on July 15, then we’ll have a fight about it,” Weiner said. Hagadone is a former Red Sox prospect.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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