Hamilton still in hospital with pneumonia, but improving

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Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was hospitalized earlier this week with what was being termed “an early case of pneumonia.”

Now we have an update.

Hamilton is still in the hospital and isn’t expected to get out until the weekend, but the Rangers are saying that he has shown “significant improvement” and that he is only being held in order to accelerate his recovery.

Spring training doesn’t get underway until late February and the 2010 American League MVP has over a month to regain whatever strength he might have lost this week to the illness.

Hamilton hit .359/.411/.633 last year with 32 home runs, 100 RBI and eight stolen bases as the Rangers traveled all the way to the World Series.  He also played his typical brand of excellent defense in the outfield.

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.