Seven days after going on the disabled list with a strained right groin, Victor Martinez returned to the field Tuesday, playing catch and hitting without pain.
“I’m feeling great, man,” he said afterwards. “This is the day that I can say it, because this is the first day I went outside and did something.”
Martinez is eligible to come off the disabled list next Wednesday, and it certainly appears as though he’ll be ready then. Omir Santos, who has been backing up Alex Avila during Martinez’s absence, figures to be sent down to make room.
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.