Billy Butler improves from “portly” to “lumbering” overnight

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I wish I had taken a screen cap of it last night, but believe me, the first version of the AP game story from the Red Sox-Royals game called Billy Butler “the Royals’ portly designated hitter.”  Sometime overnight it was amended:

The lumbering designated hitter’s three-run shot in the eighth inning Tuesday night boosted the Kansas City Royals a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox …

Not sure how I feel about that. “Portly” isn’t the kindest thing to call a guy, but there is a weird dignity to it. Winston Churchill was portly, after all. He owned that look. The young Orson Welles had a bit of portly heft to him but looked like a million bucks. A portly man, properly attired, can be quite a nice package of goods assuming he is likewise charming, confident, funny and kind of spirit.

But “lumbering?” Ah. Denotes more than a physical shortcoming, suggesting a laziness in one’s character. A lumbering man all but requires a tuba soundtrack as he attempts to run. A portly man can still be sneaky-fast.

I think I’d rather be called portly, if I had to choose, not lumbering. I’m not sure I’m in the majority here. I think more people would pick “lumbering” due to the suggestion of movement.  But I gotta go with my, well, gut here.

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.