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Middlebrooks, Red Sox ready to go for home opener

The Fenway Faithful will have plenty to be excited about Monday, when the Red Sox return for their home opener with a winning record (4-2) through six games for the first time since 2006.

Fresh off their six-homer game against the Blue Jays on Sunday, when they cruised to a 13-0 win, the Sox will open their home portion of the schedule against the Orioles (3-3) at 2:05 p.m. ET.

Opening Day festivities are set to begin around 1:30 p.m.

"I'm really excited for my teammates who haven't been on the home side of Fenway and experienced that," said third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who had his first three-homer game of his young career Sunday. "I love this team. I love the energy we're going to bring. I think the fans will love it as well."

The Red Sox were 0-6 before their home opener in 2011 and 1-5 prior to their first game at Fenway Park last year.

"Obviously, last year was my first year, and I didn't really leave with the best taste in my mouth," Middlebrooks said. "And I don't think [the fans] have the best taste in their mouths either. We kind of want to change some things around and have some fun and beat some people."

Right-hander Clay Buchholz will take the mound looking to build off his exceptional start at Yankee Stadium. The 28-year-old held the Yankees to one run, striking out four and walking two in seven innings.

Buchholz is coming off a season in which he went 11-8 with a 4.56 ERA in 189 1/3 innings. He struck out 129 batters while walking 64.

His struggles often centered around the home run. Buchholz allowed 25 homers last year, 14 of which came at Fenway. His previous high was 13 in 2009.

The Orioles will be playing in their third home opener of the season. They opened the season in Tampa Bay before playing their first game at Camden Yards on Friday against the Twins.

Wei-Yin Chen gets the ball for the second time this season after holding the Rays to two runs over 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander is in his second big league season after pitching for four years in Japan. He was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox last year.

"You've seen the last couple days, you look on the scoreboard today. [The Red Sox] had 13 runs and they put them up quick, too," said Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. "I think they are swinging the bats. We've got to go out there -- we have got Chen throwing tomorrow, I believe -- and spoil their Opening Day.

"The more people, the more you want to shut them up. That's how I look at it. I don't care, they can stand up the whole game. They do anyway. But when you can silence 40,000 people, it's pretty cool."

Red Sox: Iglesias will be at short
Jose Iglesias, the 23-year-old Cuban shortstop with a flashy glove, will likely get the start for Boston at shortstop. Iglesias picked up two more hits Sunday to raise his season average to .529 (9-for-17).

Playing for Stephen Drew -- on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion, but on pace to return Wednesday -- Iglesias has shown his usual steady defense, while also putting together some quality at-bats. Iglesias has bunted for a hit this year, something the Sox would like to see him do more of since he has good speed down the first-base line.

Iglesias had just eight hits in 68 at-bats last season, though manager John Farrell has been clear that shortstop is Drew's position when he returns.

Orioles: Timetables set for injured infielders
Infielder Wilson Betemit was in the Orioles' clubhouse Sunday, though he and injured second baseman Brian Roberts will not make the trip to Boston.

Betemit was diagnosed with a Grade 2/3 PCL sprain and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

"I'm feeling real good, much better," he said. "The inflammation has gone down, and now I'll go back to Florida and do my exercises and see what happens."

Roberts is expected to miss three to four weeks with a ruptured tendon behind his right knee.

Former Twins infielder Alexi Casilla got his first start at second base Sunday and went 1-for-2 with a walk.

Worth noting
• Daniel Nava got his first start at first base, a position he experimented with in Spring Training, on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Farrell said he feels comfortable with Nava there, and it's a good way to get his bat into the lineup. Mike Napoli was able to rest his legs at designated hitter, and both players hit home runs.

• Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold left Sunday's game in the seventh inning with right hamstring tightness and will be re-evaluated Monday. Reimold is coming off neck surgery that ended his 2012 season. He was replaced by Nate McLouth.

• The Orioles' Jones has collected multiple hits in five of six games so far this season. Comments