The Mariners are moving in the fences … as much as 17 feet!

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Safeco Field is where offense goes to die.  Maybe not in the future. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners are moving in their fences next season.

The specifics: The fences will be moved in four feet from the left field corner to the space between the bullpens — which is roughly straightway left field. Likewise,  From straightaway center to right center, the wall will be moved in four feet. Four feet is significant. But that’s nothing compared to this:

Wow. Launching pad west? I dunno. I know that park kills offense, especially for righthanders, but that seems like lots of feet. Like, several more than many.

In addition, the hand-operated scoreboard in left will be relocated. Now it’s 16 feet high and in play. The new wall will be uniformly 8 feet high.

It’s official, and the changes have been approved by Major League Baseball.  Gentlemen, start your Hittrackers and let’s see how much this will warp the offense in Seattle. If it is indeed warped at all.

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.