And just like that, all the drama about the Dodgers benching Matt Kemp is a moot point.
Carl Crawford left last night’s game with a sprained ankle and is likely headed to the disabled list, which means the Dodgers are down to three healthy big-name outfielders and Kemp–who sat out five straight games as a healthy scratch–is no longer relegated to bench duties.
Crawford hasn’t been very productive this season, hitting .267 with four homers and a .693 OPS in 44 games before the injury. By comparison Kemp has a .775 OPS in 43 games and while manager Don Mattingly has apparently soured on the idea of using Kemp as a regular center fielder at this point he’s certainly a quality defender in a corner outfield spot.
It took an injury for the Dodgers to start playing their $160 million former MVP runner-up again, but they might be a better team for it.
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.