Laynce Nix's incredible 2010 season

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You say incredible doesn’t describe it? Well, no, for a bench player to be hitting .225/.265/.396 with four homers and 12 RBI in 111 at-bats three and a half months into the season isn’t particularly notable. In fact, it’s not far off from what should have been expected. My preseason projection called for him to hit .233/.284/.434 with six homers and 18 RBI in 129 at-bats.
What I think makes it incredible is just how bad Nix has been outside of a three-day span. On May 20, Nix got a start against the Braves, his first in 10 days. He promptly went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and a two-run double. It was good timing for him, as the Reds were in Cleveland the following three days, making the DH available. Nix started the next two games and went 5-for-8, hitting a homer in each.
And that was it. The Indians threw a southpaw the next day, so the left-handed-hitting Nix returned to the bench. Since Jonny Gomes was also red hot at the time, Nix stayed there after the Reds returned to playing NL teams. He’d make just two starts over the next two weeks, and he wasn’t a big factor once the extended interleague play returned.
So, here’s Nix’s season to date:
April 5-May 19: .171/.227/.317 with one homer and three RBI in 41 at-bats
May 20-May 22: .615/.615/1.538 with three homers and seven RBI in 13 at-bats
May 23-Present: .175/.217/.193 with no homers and two RBI in 57 at-bats
Outside of the three-day stretch, Nix is hitting .173 with one homer, five RBI and 26 strikeouts in 98 at-bats.
What I also find pretty remarkable is that he’s been intentionally walked twice in the last two weeks. That’s actually what’s driving up his OBP. His last unintentional walk came on May 2, and all three since have been of the intentional variety. He has more intentional walks than runs batted in since May 23.
Nix’s time in Cincinnati could come to an end soon. The Reds just placed Chris Dickerson (wrist) on a rehab assignment, and if he impresses, it’s possible he’ll replace Nix on the bench in a couple of weeks. So far, he’s 3-for-6 with three walks in three games. The Reds would probably rather keep Nix if he regains his stroke, since he is the one legitimate power hitter on their bench. Nix, though, has simply never made enough contact to be particularly useful to a major league team. Whether it’s Dickerson or someone from outside of the organization, the Reds should upgrade.

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.