Everybody’s selling the Yankees short

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Richard Justice’s latest column at MLB.com has the headline “Are the Yankees a last place team?”  Then he saves us some time with his first line:

Let’s not bury the lead, to use a time-tested newsroom phrase. No, they are not.

Well, there you go.  Two observations:

  • The AL East is a tightly packed division. There is not a bad team there. Random variations of health, luck and bullpen performance could basically make any of the five teams first place teams and any of them last place teams. I have no idea how the division will shake out, but I can tell you that whoever finishes last in the AL East will not be a terrible team this year; and
  • Given all the bad press the Yankees are getting, you’d have no idea that they won 95 games last year.

If this keeps up I think I’ll hop a flight to Vegas and bet the over on their win totals. People are forgetting that it’s the New York Yankees here. They always find a way.

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.