Cliff Pennington has Bell’s Palsy

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That sounds more serious than it is — Bell’s Palsy is a temporary condition in most cases — but it’s not a malady you hear of all that often with ballplayers. But it got Cliff Pennington during last night’s game, causing him to suffer partial facial paralysis and preventing him from closing his left eye.

Pennington is on medication for it now and is day-to-day. Sometimes steroids are prescribed for it, which would then make Pennington a no-good cheater with little regard for baseball’s rich history (or so I’m told) to I hope it doesn’t come to that.

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.