Jon Heyman has a scoop:
Major League Baseball will add two big touches of class to its top reliever award, with sources saying it plans to rename the annual honor for the best reliever in each league after brilliant all-time bullpen greats Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman.
The work perfectly for that given that each spent their entire careers in their respective leagues and given that they are 1-2 in career saves.
One quibble, though: can we occasionally name someone who isn’t a closer the best reliever in baseball? It happens, you know. A guy without a gaudy save total being the best relief pitcher. Even before the awards were named after closers, relief pitcher awards of various stripes have almost always gone to closers. Now, I presume, they will exclusively.
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.