J.P. Ricciardi joins the ESPN crew

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Last month it was reported that former Blue Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi had signed on with a talent agency, looking to get a TV gig. They did a good job, it seems, as Ricciardi was just hired by ESPN to replace Steve Phillips as their GM-in-residence on “Baseball Tonight.”

I thought ESPN’s baseball coverage hit a low point when they had Phillips pretend to be a real GM and answer Buster Olney’s questions in a phony press conference five years ago.  With Ricciardi on the team, however, they can sink even further if they try. How? They can set him up in a phony press conference and have him lie to the phony reporter!

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with 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.