The emergence of Will Middlebrooks as the Red Sox' third baseman for the foreseeable future was just about the brightest story of a dismal 2012 season. So as Middlebrooks prepares for his sophomore season curtain call, he's been speaking with some of his more experienced teammates to get a feel for what to expect.

Based on those conversations, Middlebrooks sounded inspired to hear how hungry the team will be to get back to a winning tradition he has yet to encounter.

"Everyone I've talked to is beyond ready to get started," Middlebrooks said yesterday at the Kid Nation Winterfest at Fenway Park. "It's hard for me to speak on this because I wasn't here when the team was winning World Series and doing well — I was watching them on TV just like you guys — but I know all those guys who have been there and who have won, that's not a normal year for those guys. They're just ready to get back and prove themselves."

And Middlebrooks is as anxious as anyone on the team to resume his career. A broken right wrist, courtesy of a pitch from Cleveland's Esmil Rogers on Aug. 10, cut short his rookie season. He was taking batting practice at Yankee Stadium by the end of the regular season, and his rehab continued without a hitch.

"I've had a pretty normal offseason of workouts and I've started hitting again already," said Middlebrooks. "I've started hitting already off some guys throwing BP and it felt normal to me, so I'm excited to see how it goes against live pitching."