Some umpiring changes in store for 2010

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The umpires took a well-deserved public flogging during the postseason, so much so that rotations were switched up during the World Series. Some called it mere window-dressing at the time, but some significant institutional changes are already underway for the 2010 season.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Randy Marsh and Charlie Reliford have retired and taken jobs as
supervisors. As a result, former supervisors Marty Springstead, Jim McKean and
Rich Garcia were not retained.

Here’s major league baseball’s executive vice president Rob Manfred:

“Because of early retirement, there were some quality people like Randy
Marsh who became available to us,” Manfred said. “When things go less
than perfectly — as they did in the postseason — you’re going to think
about making changes. And part of it is just the natural turnover in an
organization. It’s no more complicated than that.”

Springstead, according to Crasnick, had been a supervisor since 2000, while Garcia and
McKean started in 2002. Marsh had been a major league umpire since 1981 while Reliford, started in 1989.

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.