And in other news, Dan Iassogna is still an idiot

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Tigers reliever Phil Coke came into Sunday’s game against the Red Sox with two outs, a man on second and a pair of lefties due up in Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz.

Apparently, he prefered to face Ortiz.

Coke threw the first pitch behind Gonzalez’s head and then plunked him in the back with the next one. It was obvious retaliation for the Red Sox hitting Miguel Cabrera in Saturday’s Tigers rout. Yet home plate umpire Dan Iassogna had not a clue.

After the HBP, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine came out and appeared to argue that Coke should be tossed for intentionally throwing at Gonzalez. Iassogna ignored him, but after Valentine returned to the dugout, crew chief Dale Scott met with Iassogna and seemingly instructed him to issue warnings. He certainly had no plans to otherwise.

Of course, that only further aggravated Valentine. If the umpires thought they were purpose pitches, Coke should have been tossed immediately. If they didn’t think so, why issue warnings?

Perhaps someone else would have better taken control of the situation. Iassogna, though, is one of the game’s worst umpires, and if things escalate between the Red Sox and Tigers, it’ll be in part because he was so clueless.

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.