Dusty Baker finally makes it official: Sean Marshall is the Reds’ closer

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For whatever reason manager Dusty Baker was hesitant to name Sean Marshall the Reds’ new closer after Ryan Madson went down, saying: “You just don’t throw somebody in that role.”

Marshall made it very clear that he wanted the job and his excellent performance during the past two seasons made it equally clear that he deserves the opportunity, and yesterday Baker finally relented.

Marshall, who’s been one of the elite setup men in baseball, will take over ninth-inning duties and Aroldis Chapman will be a setup man after plans for his potential move to the rotation were scrapped yesterday.

By this time next year there’s a good chance Marshall will be referred to as a “proven closer.”

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.