Catching up with Dinesh and Rinku

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Remember how the Pirates signed those two Indian reality-show winners?  Well, they’re back in camp this year, and unlike last spring, which was basically a publicity tour masquerading as baseball, this year they’re pitching and working out just like any other ballplayers. And they’re improving:

The progress between last spring and now is remarkable, Pirates farm
director Kyle Stark said, considering they knew next to nothing when
they arrived.  They had a difficult time getting the concept of catching the ball
with the glove, not their bare hands, and the first time a ball was hit
back to one of them during live batting practice, he jumped and screamed
in surprise.

Not bad. It usually takes Pirates prospects two or three years to stop jumping and screaming when the ball comes their way.

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.