The balls in Japan are juiced again

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Last year a scandal erupted in Japanese baseball when NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato admitted that the league had doctored the baseballs in order to generate more offense. It was so bad that he ended up resigning in September.

You can bet your bippy that no one in Japan is gonna repeat THAT blunder again:

The commissioner of Japanese baseball has apologized after random tests showed the official ball is livelier than it should be.

The tests revealed that balls used at six stadiums on March 29 were livelier than they should have been.

Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki says, “I want to apologize for causing a commotion.”

Kind of embarrassing that, for the second year in a row, the Japanese baseball commissioner is apologizing for the same thing. On the bright side, that’s two more apologies than Bud Selig has ever offered.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with 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.