The Phillies place Ryan Howard on the disabled list

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They’re dropping like flies this afternoon.

The Phillies have placed Ryan Howard on the DL, obviously figuring that his ankle needs more than a day or two of rest. They’ve called up John Mayberry to take his place on the roster.

The entire Phillies infield has been on the DL now at some point this season, and the infield is obviously the heart and soul of this team.  Like I said yesterday in the Power Rankings: if the Phillies can overcome this and still take the division, Charlie Manuel has to be the manager of the year in the National League. Though I’m guessing Bud Black wins it no matter what.

So can they overcome it? It seems unfair, but a lot of that has to do with young Domonic Brown, who will need to shoulder even more of the offensive load than he might have otherwise been expected to. It also means that the margin for error is that much less, meaning that the Phillies’ bullpen can’t give away games like it did against the Nationals on Saturday.

Like anything else that has happened to the Phillies this year, this, in and of itself, is not insurmountable. Chase Utley’s injury was far more devastating, frankly, and they’ve more or less survived that. But at some point these things start to add up, the bench begins to get taxed and things go sideways.

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.