Mariners have Dustin Ackley playing left field at Triple-A

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Dustin Ackley has hit .429 with a 1.143 OPS in 11 games at Triple-A since being demoted back to the minors by the Mariners last month, but whenever he returns to the majors it might not be as a second baseman.

Seattle seems committed to giving rookie Nick Franklin a lengthy opportunity to establish himself as the long-term second baseman and last night the Mariners had Ackley start in left field at Triple-A.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Ackley is also expected to get some reps in center field and right field while in Tacoma. Ackley played the outfield in college before Tommy John surgery forced a move to first base and he’s been almost exclusively a second baseman as a pro, logging zero time in the outfield before yesterday.

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.