Joe Maddon reverses himself on Yunel Escobar’s gesticulations

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On Monday Joe Maddon said he wasn’t pleased with Yunel Escobar making the “safe” sign as he crossed home plate following a home run in Monday’s loss. Last night he changed his mind on that. From Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

“Some people point to the sky, he shows a safe sign. For me I love the way he is. I want him to remain the way he is. He did nothing wrong. … People that want to say that he did, that’s a fabrication on somebody’s part based on your own personal judgments, period … I’m never going to attempt to subtract from his celebratory manner.”

I guess when you have a closer that shoots imaginary arrows after each game it’s kinda hard to play the “we don’t do that sort of thing” card.

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.