John Gibbons was one of seven candidates the Pirates interviewed to replace John Russell as manager, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that he’s removed his name from consideration for the job and will remain the Royals’ bench coach.
Gibbons was one of six finalists for the gig because the seventh candidate Pittsburgh interviewed, Eric Wedge, opted to take the Mariners’ job, although some reports have suggested that the Pirates are also waiting to interview a coach currently involved in the playoffs, such as Tony Pena of the Yankees.
Gibbons had all kinds of good things to say about the Pirates and his interest in the job earlier this week, so pulling out of consideration seems odd. In addition to Gibbons and Wedge, the Pirates have also interviewed Jeff Banister, Ken Macha, Bo Porter, Dale Sveum, and Carlos Tosca.
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.