Travis Hafner: slimmed down and ready to rake

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I don’t label this one a BSOHL story because I just don’t think they did enough to get there. But Mark Feinsand of the Daily News catches up with new Yankee Travis Hafner, who has dropped some weight:

The Yankees’ designated hitter has dropped 10 pounds this spring in an effort to take some stress off his massive frame, hoping the weight loss will help him to regain his status as one of the league’s most productive hitters. “I feel better overall,” Hafner said. “My body feels really good; I don’t get that sore anymore or anything. I feel like there’s potential there to have a really good season.”

Maybe that qualifies. I don’t know. I do know, however, that if we include him in the BSOHL club that he’s likely to be one of the guys who actually improves season-over-season. Hafner is a lefty dead-pull power hitter about to set up shop in one of the friendliest places for that sort of chap to hit. With him it’s all about health. If it’s there, the dingers will come.

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.