Carl Crawford leaves Rays-Padres game early

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UPDATE: Of course, two minutes after I hit “post” on this bad boy word comes down: Crawford has a sore shoulder. Not sure why it’s sore. I won’t even speculate, because the minute I do someone will say it was for some other reason. Upshot: Crawford is out of the Rays-Padres game. Adjust your wagers appropriately.

1:21 P.M.: The Padres and Rays are playing a daytime tilt and Carl Crawford just left the game for no apparent reason. Crawford had grounded out to second base in his first at-bat, but then was replaced by Ben Zobrist.

It has to be some kind of an injury. Guys often leave games with bad calfs or groins or whatever after getting back to the dugout and stiffening up. Though a lot of folks on Twitter — fan types, not media types — are speculating that he’s been traded.

Honestly, though: when was the last time an in-game trade happened like that? I can’t think of it ever happening outside of spring training. That stuff happens before or after a game, not during.  And it’s not like anyone has heard a peep of a hint of a Crawford trade lately.

My guess, based on the fact that I spent a night in a Holiday Inn Express last March: illness or some kind of a leg problem.

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.