Charlie Manuel: master of the head game

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Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was asked about unbreakable records in the dugout prior to Sunday’s game and Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters, always a popular choice, came up.

Manuel, though, shot down that one as unbreakable, pointing to a division rival’s own pitcher:

“That one could be got,” Manuel said. “I see [Stephen] Strasburg, he’s very capable of throwing back-to-back no-hitters. When I saw the type of the stuff that he has, and pitchers that dominate the game like he does, guys like Pedro Martinez in their heyday, they could do that. Because not only could they pitch. They could overpower you.”

So, yeah, the Nationals should get right on that.  The sooner the better.  Time’s a wastin’.

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.