Good news for Phillies: Yanks bench Swisher, Posada

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Jorge Posada’s absence was expected with Jose Molina having caught A.J. Burnett in each of the right-hander’s three previous postseason starts, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the surprising decision Thursday to remove Nick Swisher from the starting lineup for Game 2 of the World Series and replace him with Jerry Hairston Jr. in right field.
The changes subtract two players who combined for 51 homers and 163 RBI in 864 at-bats this year in exchange for two players who combined for 11 homers and 43 RBI in 521 at-bats.
Swisher has struggled mightily in the postseason, coming in at 4-for-35 with a 12/3 K/BB ratio. Still, that hardly outweighs his 869 OPS for the year or his 924 mark after the All-Star break. Girardi pointed to the fact that Hairston is 10-for-27 lifetime against Phillies starter Pedro Martinez, even though most of those at-bats came many years ago. Most of those hits were singles anyway, and not a one of them drove in a run.
The Phillies have to be feeling awfully encouraged with the Yankees apparently already in panic mode.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.