Last week manager Charlie Manuel hinted that the Phillies would move rookie Vance Worley to the bullpen for the playoffs and now Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the switch will likely take place following his start tomorrow.
Worley made it clear that he’d be fine with the move, but wanted some time to prepare for bullpen work, so the timing here would give him a chance to make a couple relief appearances in the final week.
Worley has been fantastic as a starter, going 11-2 with a 2.85 ERA and 108/40 K/BB ratio in 123 innings, but it’s unclear how much the Phillies will even need a fourth starter in the postseason behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels, and Manuel could opt to go with Roy Oswalt in that role anyway.
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.