Scott Hatteberg, first base, and life imitating “Moneyball”

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The biggest laugh in “Moneyball” comes when Billy Beane and Ron Washington visit Scott Hatteberg at home to talk him into learning first base:

Hatteberg: I’ve only ever played catcher.

Beane: It’s not that hard, Scott. Tell him, Wash.

Washington: It’s incredibly hard.

Now the real Hatteberg is in A’s camp as a spring training coach and spent yesterday teaching outfield prospect Michael Taylor to play first base. Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com sets the scene:

“I thought Ron Washington was such a genius as far as an instructor. I know behind the scenes he was saying how bad I was,” Hatteberg joked. “He really worked on the mental part and the confidence part and we’re trying to do the same with Michael.”

On Thursday, Hatteberg gave instruction as special assistant Phil Garner chimed in. Sacramento River Cats hitting coach Greg Sparks hit grounders to Taylor as he practiced at first base. River Cats manager Steve Scarsone provided insights as he stood to the left of the bag and took the occasional toss from Taylor.

And now there’s already a scene for the “Moneyball” sequel.

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.