Alex Rodriguez isn’t due back from knee surgery until mid-August, but instead of relying on Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Laird as fill-ins the Yankees have another option at third base: Eric Chavez.
The oft-injured veteran has been on the disabled list since May with a fractured foot, but went 7-for-21 (.333) with a homer and two doubles during a brief minor-league rehab assignment and is in the Yankees’ starting lineup tonight.
Counting on Chavez to play every day is obviously crazy at this point, but using him at third base versus most right-handed pitchers while Nunez steps into the lineup against most left-handed pitchers makes some sense. Chavez hit .310 with an .834 OPS in 17 games prior to the fractured foot and was a six-time Gold Glove winner at third base before all the injuries derailed his career. Maybe he can stay healthy until Rodriguez returns in a few weeks, at least.
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.