Terry Francona “has had preliminary contact with Indians”

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As soon as the Indians announced this afternoon that Manny Acta was out as manager there was speculation that Terry Francona could emerge as a potential candidate in Cleveland.

And according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com the wheels may already be in motion.

Rosenthal reports that Francona “already has had preliminary contact with the Indians” and wonders if it might come down to “whether the Indians could pay Francona a large enough salary to persuade him to leave his job as an analyst for ESPN.”

I don’t know Francona’s financial situation other than the fact that he earned about $4 million per year from the Red Sox, but it seems unlikely that he’d let money get in the way if he’s itching to get back into managing after a year talking about the game on television.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with 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.