The Mariners apparently have no emergency catcher

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I missed this because, really, I had no idea that baseball took place after 11PM Eastern time.  But in last night’s Braves-Mariners game, the M’s had a catcher fiasco.  Miguel Olivo left early due to cramps in his hamstring and the backup catcher, Chris Gimenez, strained his oblique in the fifth inning.

Gimenez could apparently still catch the ball — he stayed in the game — but when he came up to bat in the 7th inning with two runners on and two outs in a one-run game, he did something strange:  he tried to bunt.  And he struck out, watching strike three go by. Here was Eric Wedge’s explanation:

“I tell you what, Chris really sucked it up,” Wedge said. “We had to keep him back there because we needed a catcher. In that situation there, we have him try to bunt for a hit. It was either two shots to get a bunt for a hit, otherwise he had to take it like a man and just hope that he walked him.”

Or, in a close game, with runners on, when you’re still in the race for the playoffs, you could, you know, pinch hit for him?  And hope that your emergency catcher — which every team has, right? — can handle two innings behind the plate?

So, which was it, Wedge: was this not an emergency, or do you not have an emergency catcher?

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.