Major League Baseball is very optimistic about Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit

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As we witnessed home run records being demolished starting in the late 90s, we also witnessed ugly scrums in the outfield seats as fans fought — literally fought — one another to snag a baseball that could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at an auction. Realizing the lengths to which people would go to grab a pricey bit of history, baseball began putting special marks on would-be historic baseballs in an effort to head off potential fraud.

Baseball is breaking out the hologram/watermark/secret cipher machine again, this time for the balls that could be Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. And, today only, if you’re in New York City, you can see Derek Jeter’s special balls:

With Derek Jeter returning to the Yankee lineup and resuming his quest for 3,000 career hits, the MLB Fan Cave on Tuesday will be host to a dozen unique pieces of living history, one of which could wind up being the actual ball Jeter hits for number 3,000. Twelve of the baseballs among those to be put into play once Jeter is at 2,999 career hits will be on display at the MLB Fan Cave on Tuesday afternoon for fans and members of the media.

That’s nice and all, but it’s late-model Derek Jeter we’re talking about here. What are the odds that his 3000th hit is going to go over the fence?  Unless Major League Baseball anticipates that the opposing catcher and pitcher are gonna fight over the little dribbler into no-man’s land that is likely to become Jeter’s 3000th, this seems rather unnecessary to me.

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.