Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis deliver for Indians fan living with cerebral palsy

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Sometimes, one can get caught up with all of the negative news that gets reported these days, so it’s good to find a piece like this every once in a while. Per this story by the Associated Press, on Saturday, eight-year-old Niko Lanzarotta and his family were watching the Indians take batting practice prior to last night’s game against the Twins. Niko, living with cerebral palsy, met with some players and asked catcher Carlos Santana and second baseman Jason Kipnis to hit home runs for him.

The two wasted very little time granting their fan his wish. Santana blasted a two-run home run off of Twins starter Liam Hendriks in the first inning and Kipnis hit a two-run shot in the third against Hendriks. Behind a solid start by Zach McAllister, the Indians went on to win 7-2.

From the AP column:

“They told me I was their favorite player, and I promised to hit a home run for him,” Santana said.

“He must be a good luck charm for us two,” said Kipnis, who broke an 0-for-19 slump earlier in the game and homered for the first time since July 21.

Niko’s father added, “It was the best day of his life. To meet Carlos, to be that close, and for him to hit a home run. … To see your kid that happy is a great thing.”

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.