Before David Ortiz grabbed all the injury headlines, Will Middlebrooks had a brief hold on them.

But now that his wrist scare is nearly two weeks in the past, Middlebrooks has resumed his rightful place as the uncomplicated sophomore sensation at third base. His future is bright, both he and the team hoping he can build on the 15-homer, 54-RBI rookie season that was cut short by a broken wrist last August.

That Middlebrooks is already a fixture at his position has gone as unheralded as Middlebrooks’ smooth-as-silk transition into becoming one of the guys.

Even he marvels some at where he is now compared to a year ago.

“Right back there, all the way in the far corner,” said Middlebrooks, pointing to the locker at one end of the clubhouse that served as his for 2012 spring training.

This year, Middlebrooks’ locker is right next to the nerve center — and mouth — of the team, second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

“Last year, I was sitting in the corner with my tail tucked — I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes,” Middlebrooks said.