James McCann suspects Alex Rios is stealing signs

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As MLive.com’s James Schmehl details, Tigers catcher James McCann suspects Royals outfielder Alex Rios is stealing signs. Rios was hit by a Bruce Rondon pitch in the ninth inning of¬†Wednesday’s game at Kauffman Stadium. He advanced to second base when Rondon walked Infante.

McCann then went to visit Rondon on the mound and stared Rios down, to make him aware that he was being watched in the event he was stealing signs.

“Was he doing it? I have my suspicions,” McCann said. “No one will ever know except for him. But I do know he wasn’t able to relay them beyond that trip to the mound.”

[…]

“I just stared at him. Not knowing if he was really doing it or not,” said McCann, who didn’t directly accuse Rios of stealing signs. “But my job is to make sure it didn’t continue if it was happening.”

Rondon wound up getting the next two outs without issue, getting the save for the Tigers.

McCann was in the news a week ago for a dust-up with teammate Jose Iglesias. He felt Iglesias gave up too soon on a ground ball.

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.