Victor Martinez to begin baserunning program today

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Victor Martinez is one year removed from tearing his ACL last January and he’s scheduled to begin a baserunning program today.

There was some hope that Martinez could make it back at the end of last season, but that was quickly ruled out and Lynn Henning of the Detroit News writes that the Tigers then changed his recovery timetable to “a slower, steadier rehabilitation program.”

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand told Henning that Martinez “is doing real, real well” and “has been hitting for a bit more than a month, from soft-toss swings to regular swings, feeling real well, and with no issues.”

Still, it’s interesting that one year after the injury Martinez is just now beginning to run the bases.

His days of catching are over, but adding a healthy Martinez to a lineup that already ranked sixth in scoring among AL teams last season could be a big boost to the Tigers. Martinez hit .330 with 12 homers, 40 doubles, and an .850 OPS for the Tigers in 2011, whereas Detroit’s designated hitters batted a combined .257 with a .687 OPS last year.

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.