In need of offense, Dodgers call up top prospect Jerry Sands

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After barely eeking out a 2-1 win over the Cardinals on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep at home, the Dodgers made a move to address their hitting problems Monday, calling up top prospect Jerry Sands from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Sands, 23, was one of the PCL’s hottest hitters in the early going, having already homered five times.  He was batting .400/.422/.875 with just three strikeouts in 10 games.  He drove in 17 runs all by himself.  The Dodgers, meanwhile, have scored 43 runs in 16 games.

With Sands up, the Dodgers will move away from the Tony Gwynn Jr.-Marcus Thames-Xavier Paul grabbag in left field.  Gwynn had been getting most of the playing time, but he was htiting just .256/.293/.359 in 39 at-bats.  Thames was doing better, but he’s a liability defensively.  Hopefully the club will give him starts at first base against left-handers, as James Loney was awful this spring and is only getting worse.  Paul was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Sands.

Sands will be making his major league debut.  The 2008 25th-round pick opened last year in low-A ball, but he ended up finishing it at Double-A and hitting 35 homers along the way.  He projects as a 25-homer guy for the Dodgers, though he probably won’t hit for strong averages anytime soon.  Regardless, it’s the right move for the Dodgers to give him a try.  No one else was likely to step up and become an everyday guy for them.

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.