The Orioles are playing Nelson Cruz in center field today

17 Comments

Well, this is fantastic.

The Orioles will be a must-watch in their Grapefruit League game against the Yankees this afternoon, as Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun notes that Nelson Cruz will make the start in center field. Oh, but that’s not all. He’ll be flanked by Delmon Young in right field and Steve Pearce in left. Today’s starter, Chris Tillman, has a 41.6 percent fly ball rate for his career, so it should be fun out there.

Don’t worry, Orioles fans (and pitchers), it would take some unique circumstances to see this sort of defensive alignment during the regular season. This is mostly a matter of the team not having enough bodies around, as Nick Markakis is banged up, Adam Jones is away from the team following the birth of his son, and David Lough isn’t available. Enjoy it while you can.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

Getty Images
3 Comments

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.