Ailing Alex Rodriguez pulls out of All-Star Game

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As speculated earlier, Alex Rodriguez has joined Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera in pulling out of the All-Star Game.

No replacement was announced, but we’re guessing will soon announce that Kevin Youkilis and Jhonny Peralta have been added to the squad as reserves.  Adrian Beltre and Asdrubal Cabrera figure to move into the starting lineup in place of Rodriguez and Jeter, respectively.

That could leave the AL with the following lineup:

CF Curtis Granderson
SS Cabrera
1B Adrian Gonzalez
RF Jose Bautista
LF Josh Hamilton
DH David Ortiz
3B Beltre
2B Robinson Cano
C Alex Avila

The AL has six left-handed hitters starting, so there will only be so much splitting them up.

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.