Out since late April with a strained oblique muscle, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is off the disabled list and back in the lineup for tonight’s game against the White Sox.
Kipnis was hitting .234 with three homers and a .748 OPS before the injury and ended up missing 26 games, during which time the Indians went 13-13 without him while using Mike Aviles as their primary second baseman. Aviles posted a .661 OPS in his absence.
Kipnis went just 1-for-9 on a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A, but the Indians are convinced he’s fully recovered and tonight he’s batting cleanup.
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.