ESPN agrees to broadcast games of every team at least once a year in the new deal

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Just got the press release from MLB about the new ESPN rights deal. It’s mostly as reported this morning. This stood out, however:

ESPN has also made a commitment to showcase each of the 30 MLB Clubs at least once per season in a live game telecast.

This is at least a bone to fans of teams who don’t play for one of the big boys.  Of course, I presume that fans of those teams will get to see their guys playing one of the big boys in one of these guaranteed games.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ratings are what pay for these deals, and way more people will watch the Yankees play the Royals than will watch the Rays play the Royals.

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.