Tigers will bring back Jim Leyland, Dave Dombrowski

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In case there was any doubt, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press reported Friday that the Tigers will bring back manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski for the 2011 season.

The Tigers were 10 games above .500 at this year’s All-Star break and just one game behind the Twins for first place in the American League Central.  Now they’re two games under .500 with a nine-game deficit in the AL Central and barely a hint of hope of making the postseason.  Still, Tigers owner Mike Ilitch likes what the club has going.

“(This season) is very disappointing, “Ilitch told the Free Press on Friday, “(but) I’m staying
with Dave and I’m staying with our manager. I feel that we’re going to
move forward.”

Seems like the right move.  If Rick Porcello manages to bounce back next season and Miguel Cabrera continues to rake, there’s reason for optimism in Detroit.  Brennan Boesch looks like a nice, young player and 23-year-old Austin Jackson has played admirably in his first big league season.  Of course, there are question marks.  Will Johnny Damon be brought back?  And how about Magglio Ordonez?  It should be an interesting winter.

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.