Cubs officially hire Dale Sveum as manager

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Well, it’s officially official.

According to ESPN’s Gordon Edes, the Cubs have announced that Dale Sveum will become the team’s next manager. He’s to be introduced at a press conference scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday in Chicago.

Sveum was offered the job on Wednesday evening after a second in-person interview, then issued his official acceptance on Thursday afternoon after recieving a visit at his hotel from new Cubs president Theo Epstein and new Cubs GM Jed Hoyer.

The now-former Brewers hitting coach has only managed on an interim basis in the major leagues, but he was regarded as a rising star in the profession down in the minors and he should have no trouble picking up the intricacies of the job at the next level. Sveum was also a candidate for Boston’s opening, but they’re now expected to extend their search into next week and there are reports that it might even last into December.

Sveum becomes the 52nd manager in Cubs history. He was given a three-year contract.

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.