David DeJesus has compiled 5,164 plate appearances over his 11-year career, but tonight will mark the first time he will bat clean-up as a starting player. He hit clean-up once before, on April 29, 2004 when he replaced Matt Stairs — and struck out — in the ninth inning of a 9-7 loss to the Rangers.
DeJesus has hit six home runs and compiled a .434 slugging percentage thus far in 2013, but it doesn’t make him the unlikeliest clean-up hitter of the year. That honor belongs to Marlins third baseman Placido Polanco, currently sitting on one homer and a .301 slugging percentage. He has taken 26 plate appearances out of the #4 spot over six starts in April.
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.