A good sign for the A's-to-San Jose plan?

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One of the things gumming up the works on the long-discussed move of the Oakland Athletics to San Jose is that even if Major League Baseball buys off, er, I mean successfully negotiates a territorial rights agreement with the Giants, the Athletics still need a park to play in.

Sure, Lew Wolff has long said that he’s going to build it himself, but no matter what some will have you believe, there’s really no such thing as a totally private stadium. Dodger Stadium wouldn’t be there if the Los Angeles government hadn’t grabbed the land under an arguably fraudulent eminent domain proceeding and then forced out the residents who lived there. Even the shining beacon of private stadium construction — AT&T Park — required millions in infrastructure upgrades and some land swap stuff to happen.

The point is that there was never a guarantee that San Jose would go for an Athletics’ ballpark and in all likelihood some sort of referendum is going to be required to let the project go through.  Given the Bay Area’s recent aversion to public stadium and arena projects, such a proposition is no gimmie.

But maybe there is hope for Lew Wolff:  the voters of Santa Clara, California — right next door to San Jose — just approved a new stadium with a fairly significant amount of public financing for the 49ers. Santa Clara is not San Jose, of course, but they are right next door to each other, so perhaps the politics of all of this has started to change in the region.

But first things first: baseball actually needs to end its more than year-long “study” of the situation and actually say what it wants to have happen to the Athletics.

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.