Orioles hire hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh

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MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the Orioles have hired Scott Coolbaugh as the club’s new hitting coach. Once Charlie Manuel turned down the position, the Orioles moved quickly. In Dallas, Coolbaugh met for two hours with manager Buck Showalter and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson.

Coolbaugh, 48, spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues with the Rangers, Padres, and Cardinals. He had been serving as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Rangers. Kubatko writes that the Rangers had initially declined permission for the Orioles to interview Coolbaugh but relented yesterday.

Jim Presley had been the Orioles’ hitting coach dating back to 2010, but he was reassigned within the organization in late November.

More on Coolbaugh, via Kubatko:

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle 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.