Scott Rice is on pace for the second-most appearances ever

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Apparently the Mets really like to use their left-handed specialists a lot.

Pedro Feliciano led the league in appearances in 2008, 2009, and 2010 while pitching for the Mets, setting the all-time record for appearances by a left-hander in 2010 with 92. And now the Mets’ current southpaw specialist, Scott Rice, is on pace to break that record.

Rice, who’s a 31-year-old rookie getting his first taste of the majors after 14 seasons in the minors, has appeared in 30 of the Mets’ first 50 games. That puts him on pace for 97 appearances, which would be the most ever by a lefty and the second-most of all time behind only Mike Marshall’s ridiculous, Cy Young-winning 1974 season in which he threw 208 innings in 106 appearances.

Here’s the all-time leaderboard:

Mike Marshall     1974     106
Salomon Torres    2006      96
Kent Tekulve      1979      94
Pedro Feliciano   2010      92
Mike Marshall     1973      92

Not bad for a guy who had a 4.40 ERA at Triple-A last season and was pitching in an independent league in 2011.

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.