The Jason Heyward nets

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I’m a gigantic fanboy, but even I’m getting a little tired of the Jason Heyward hype. The latest:

When manager Bobby Cox said that the Braves will probably install
nets to protect cars from Jason Heyward’s prodigious batting-practice
home runs, reporters thought he was kidding.

He was not kidding.

“I’m serious,” Cox said Thursday at Champion Stadium. “Smashing too many cars.”

Heyward has created a buzz that’s transcended Braves camp and spread
throughout baseball, with tales of the 20-year-old outfield prospect’s
hitting exploits becoming the stuff of blog- and Twitter-fueled legend.

As Braves assistant general manager Bruce Manno could attest, this is not myth. This stuff is happening — Manno has an $3,400 estimate for repairs as proof.

Impressive, sure, but it would be way more impressive if anyone in the Braves’ organization was smart enough no to put a parking lot behind the right field fence.

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.