middlebrooks getty

Will Middlebrooks aggravates right wrist in spring game

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Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was removed from Wednesday night’s Grapefruit League game against the Orioles because of what is currently being termed “right wrist soreness.”

Middlebrooks appeared to injure the wrist while taking a swing at a high-and-tight fastball in the first inning. He met with trainers near the Red Sox dugout and then spiked his batting helmet in apparent frustration before disappearing into the clubhouse.

Middlebrooks missed the final two months of the 2012 season with a right wrist fracture. And it’s pretty clear that whatever happened tonight at the Orioles’ complex in Sarasota, Florida is related.

The Red Sox will reevaluate him Thursday morning.

Middlebrooks, 24, batted .288/.325/.509 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI over his first 75 major league games last year. Boston’s options to replace him at the hot corner are … umm … Pedro Ciriaco and Brock Holt.

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UPDATE, 9:44 PM: According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, Middlebrooks said after the game that he is not in pain and that no X-rays are scheduled because he has strength in his right hand. “It’s not as serious as we thought it was,” the young third baseman told reporters. “It was just a scare.”

UPDATE, 10:13 PM: Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe says Middlebrooks is aiming to take batting practice on Thursday and that the tweak he felt might have been scar tissue getting jarred.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.