Terry Francona and the Indians are no longer just a rumor.
Francona confirmed reports that he’s a candidate to replace Manny Acta as Cleveland’s manager, telling Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that he’s already spoken to general manager Chris Antonetti about the gig and will eventually come in for an interview.
Antonetti also acknowledged the team’s interest in Francona and said he’s currently one of two candidates along with interim manager Sandy Alomar.
There’s been some speculation that the Indians may balk at Francona’s asking price, in which case perhaps Alomar is the pre-approved fallback option.
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.