Report: Expanded playoffs will be a go for 2012

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Ken Rosenthal tweets:

The decision is not terribly surprising.  While this year’s schedule is already set, thus making it difficult to build in room for the expanded playoffs, Major League Baseball and its television partners clearly wanted to get this in place as soon as possible.  Those one-game wild card playoffs are going to be hyped to the max and, given how everyone likes elimination games, will likely get good ratings.

Of course, as it already is, the seventh game of the World Series, if necessary, would be played on November 1.  I would assume that this will bump it a couple of days.  As such, watch for MLB to put the fix in, making it impossible for the northern-dwelling Twins to make the postseason.

Wait, what?  Oh, in that case everything is cool.

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.