Ryan Howard was benched today and it looks like he’ll be a platoon player for a good while. After the game reporters tried to talk to him about it. Howard wasn’t too talkative:
“Talk to him,” he said after the game, referring to Sandberg. “Bye. Talk to the manager.”
He’s an athlete so he’s obviously competitive and it’d probably be more surprising if he did want to expound on not being allowed to play as much as he’d like. But you do have to wonder if this is creating any bad blood between Howard and Sandberg. Or Sandberg and his overwhelmingly veteran team.
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.