Jim Hendry thinks the Cubs will contend in 2012 for some reason

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Look, optimism is always a good thing, but there’s a fine line between optimism and delusion.  Case in point: Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry who, according to Patrick Mooney at CSNChicago.com, thinks that the Cubs’ future is bright.

The pitching, he thinks, is right on track. He makes a few references to “tinkering here or there.”  He says that, given how the Pirates came out of nowhere to compete, that it won’t take a long time for the Cubs to turn on a dime and be right in there and be competitive for several years.

All of which would sound a lot better from a guy who hasn’t been on watch nine years ago and has presided over multiple failed rebuilding projects, peaking with a team of expensive veterans several years ago that he still seems intent on running out there, hoping that he can catch lightning in a bottle.

Maybe the Cubs’ future is brighter than all of that.  But I don’t think Jim Hendry has earned the right to be in charge of it much longer.

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.