Dodgers likely to stick with Javy Guerra as closer

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Javy Guerra did an excellent job stepping into the Dodgers’ closer role as a rookie, converting 21-of-23 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 38/18 K/BB ratio in 47 innings after replacing Jonathan Broxton.

Kenley Jansen was even better in a setup role, setting the all-time record for strikeouts per nine innings while holding opponents to a ridiculous .159 batting average.

Jansen’s dominance led to some speculation that he’d be given an opportunity to supplant Guerra in the ninth inning, but today manager Don Mattingly told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he’s “going into camp thinking Javy is the guy.”

That could change in a hurry, of course, and having Jansen available to pitch any inning and any situation could potentially be more valuable to the Dodgers than limiting him to the ninth inning with leads of 1-3 runs anyway. Either way, if Jansen pitches like he has while posting a 2.12 ERA and 137 strikeouts through his first 81 career innings I’d be surprised if he’s not closing games at some point. Guerra is good, but he’s great.

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.