As expected the Rays have activated B.J. Upton from the disabled list and the center fielder will make his season debut tonight after sitting out the first 13 games with a back injury.
Upton, who suffered the injury in a March 14 collision with Desmond Jennings, went just 3-for-21 (.143) during a seven game minor-league rehab assignment.
Jennings has filled in for Upton as the everyday center fielder, but now he’ll shift back to left field and Matt Joyce will move to right field with Ben Zobrist likely seeing more time as a second baseman.
Stephen Vogt, a 27-year-old career minor leaguer who went 0-for-13 in his first taste of the majors, was optioned back to the minors to make room for Upton.
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.