Corey Hart had two hits in spring debut, is ready for opener

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Corey Hart essentially missed all of spring training following knee surgery last month, but finally saw his first game action yesterday and notched a pair of hits while declaring himself ready for Opening Day.

In addition to the two hits Steve Gilbert of MLB.com notes that Hart also looked fine in right field defensively and “scamper[ed] to third base on an infield hit that followed his double.”

Expect him to be in the Game 1 lineup in right field, which is quite a change from the initial post-surgery timetable that had him likely beginning the season on the disabled list.

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.