Stephen Strasburg: shagging fly balls, possibly batting

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Stephen Strasburg may not be pitching anymore, but it’s not like he’s dead. Indeed, Davey Johnson has an idea for him:

“I check on him,” Johnson said. “I told him yesterday, to give him something to think about, I said, ‘Keep taking batting practice. I might need your bat. If I can’t use your arm, I’ll use your bat’ … I’m serious, yeah.”

Well, he’s not nearly the liability at the plate that most pitchers are so I suppose there are worse ideas. Also:

Strasburg made his final start of the season five days ago, but already he has become antsy with no more starts to look forward to. During the Nationals’ series in New York, Strasburg has shagged batting practice in center field, mostly standing by himself.

Nothin’ can go wrong out there, of course.

Seriously, though, Nats fans had better hope that the baseball gods aren’t suffering from an irony deficit disorder these days, because the target, it is so big right now.

 

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.