This has been a rough first six weeks for closers, as half the teams in baseball have a new guy in the ninth-inning role due to poor performances and/or injuries.
Of the closers left standing only four guys have at least five saves without a blown save and showing someone the list before the season would have confused the hell out of them (and probably still does): Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Jonathan Papelbon, Matt Capps.
Those four have combined to convert 43-of-43 save chances. The other 20 closers with at least five saves have converted 156-of-188 save chances, which works out to an 82 percent success rate that’s actually pretty typical across MLB most seasons.
But still: Matt Capps, Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson, and Jonathan Papelbon.
Proven closers, y’all.
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.