New Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon will have to fill a few more vacant coaching staff positions as he readies himself for the 2014 season in Seattle. Via Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the team fired pitching coach Carl Willis, demoted bullpen coach Jamie Navarro to the team’s Minor League system, and first base coach Mike Brumley left to join the Cubs as their assistant hitting coach.
The Mariners fired bench coach Robby Thompson before bringing McClendon on board. They also reassigned third base coach Jeff Datz to a scouting position. As a result, McClendon will get to almost entirely repopulate the coaching staff with his own selections. As Baker notes, only Daren Brown (who took over for Datz as third base coach), hitting coach Dave Hansen, and bullpen catcher Jason Phillips remain.
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.