Vazquez wisely skipped in Yankees' rotation

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vazquez watching homer.jpgYankees manager Joe Girardi made a calculated move Saturday in an effort to protect Javier Vazquez’s confidence, bumping the righty from his next scheduled start. 

Vazquez pitched a solid seven innings of two-run ball last Wednesday against the Tigers and was in line to take on either the Red Sox or Rays this week.  But Girardi made the decision Saturday to have the struggling starter avoid both high-powered offenses.  Vazquez, 33, will take on the Mets at Citi Field on Friday instead.  From the Newark Star-Ledger:

“We talked amongst ourselves and discussed it,” Girardi said Saturday. “I know
Javy wants to pitch. But that was what we thought was the right
decision at this time.”

Some Yankees fans might want to call it “babying,” but this is a smart move for both the club and Vazquez himself.  He is 1-4 this year with an 8.10 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP over six starts and the Yanks continue to battle for the top spot in the American League East with Tampa Bay.  They need their best starters on the mound right now and Vazquez — for the time being — is not one of them.

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.