The Cubs move Carlos Zambrano into long relief

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Jenrry Mejia isn’t the only pitcher getting stretched out in preparation of more optimal use.  The Cubs have moved Carlos Zambrano off his setup job — which he hasn’t done particularly well —  and into long relief, presumably in preparation for a return to the rotation.

“Look, we thought the outcome would be a little different, and he’s not
as comfortable in the bullpen pitching short,” manager Lou Piniella
said of the move.

I’m fairly certain that Lou Piniella is the only person who thought this move would work out any differently.

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.