Padres CEO: “Bud Black can manage this club as long as he wants to”

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There’s been some speculation linking Bud Black to various managerial and front office openings, but Padres chief executive officer Jeff Moorad attempted to shut down those rumors yesterday by saying that “Bud Black can manage this club as long as he wants to, he’s a perfect skipper for the Padres in the near term as well as the long term.”

Black has a .478 winning percentage and just two winning since seasons since leaving his job as Angels pitching coach to become the Padres’ manager in 2007, but San Diego’s talent and payroll limitations obviously play a big role in that sub-.500 mark and he’s the reigning NL Manager of the Year.

Black declined to comment when asked about his interest in other jobs and according to Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union Tribune no teams have requested the Padres’ permission to speak to him yet. General manager Jed Hoyer also declined to comment on what he called “media speculation.”

Sullivan reports that the Padres would likely block Black from speaking to other teams about a lateral move to manager, but would allow him to discuss “a potential promotion” to GM. And with two years remaining on his Padres contract and another two team options after that, Black probably isn’t going anywhere.

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.