Phillies infielder taken to hospital after on-field collision

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Phillies infielder taken to hospital after on-field collision

UPDATED: Sunday, Feb. 25 - 11:30 a.m.

Kapler announced Middlebrooks has suffered a fractured left fibula and that Middlebrooks' ankle still is being evaluated.

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Third baseman Will Middlebrooks was transported to a nearby hospital after suffering what appeared to be a serious injury to his left ankle when he was involved in a collision in left field during Saturday afternoon’s Phillies-Baltimore Orioles game.

Middlebrooks, 29, in camp with the Phillies on a minor-league contract, collided with left fielder Andrew Pullin as the two converged on a soft fly ball by Baltimore’s DJ Stewart in the eighth inning.

There was no immediate word on Middlebrooks’ condition.

“I've seen it on video at this point,” manager Gabe Kapler said moments after the game, a 9-6 Phillies’ win. “He's on the way to the hospital to get X-rays. It was a pretty emotional moment, no question about it. He was disappointed to come out of the game after sort of busting his balls for the first five or six days and being in really, really good condition and being excited about camp. We'll see how this goes.” 

Middlebrooks’ left leg bent awkwardly as he and Pullin went to the ground trying to make a catch. Middlebrooks was tended to on the field by the Phillies’ athletic training staff. Emergency technicians on site were quickly summoned. A splint was placed on Middlebrooks’ lower left leg and he was taken off the field on a Clearwater Fire and Rescue motorized cart.

Pullin was shaken as he talked about the collision.

“It was kind of one of those balls that’s in between,” he said. “I was running hard and I didn’t hear him call it and I didn’t call it because I wasn’t sure if I could get to it. At the last minute, I slid for it. I’m not sure if he called it.

“I slid and I think I went right into his ankle. Hopefully it’s not too bad.”

Pullin confirmed that Middlebrooks was in significant pain as he lay on the ground.

“He wasn’t doing too good,” Pullin said.

Middlebrooks is a former top prospect of the Boston Red Sox. He played from 2012 to 2014 in the majors with that club and has appeared in the majors with San Diego, Milwaukee and Texas the last three seasons.

The Phillies signed Middlebrooks in the offseason to provide some corner infield depth. He was considered a long shot to make the big-league club and figured to play at Triple A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies will deal with those specifics later. As the work day ended Saturday, only Middlebrooks’ health mattered.

“More than anything, you put yourself in his position,” Kapler said. “A ton of hard work leads up to that moment, giving everything he has on that play, which is what we ask our players to do. The promise we make to fans in Philadelphia is that we're going to play like that. We're going to sacrifice our bodies for that kind of moment in a spring training game. That's exactly what he did. It's really tough. I felt for Will in that moment. We're all pulling really hard for him.”

What's up with Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez?

Photo: NBCSP

What's up with Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez?

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Sixto Sanchez, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, has been noticeably absent from game action in minor-league camp.

Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development, says there's nothing to be alarmed about.

"He had the flu and he's over it now," Jordan said. "He's fine now. No issues. He's 100 percent."

Jordan said Sanchez got up to 30 pitches in a bullpen session this week.

"He let it go with all his pitches," Jordan said.

Jordan added that Sanchez would pitch in a game in the next few days. He added that Sanchez would open the season on time with the Clearwater club, though his innings will be watched at the outset until he's fully stretched out.

Sanchez, 19, is a power-armed right-hander with remarkable control. He went 5-7 with 3.03 ERA in 18 starts at Lakewood and Clearwater, both Single A affiliates, last season. He pitched 95 innings, struck out 84, walked 18 and had a WHIP of 0.958.

Phillies take long look at Roman Quinn as potential backup SS

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Phillies take long look at Roman Quinn as potential backup SS


FORT MYERS, Fla. — However the Phillies’ bench shapes up — whether it features four or five men during the first week of the regular season — one thing is a must:

“We need somebody who can play shortstop, absolutely,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

“We need someone who can play multiple positions in the infield on our bench and someone who can play multiple positions in our outfield on the bench. That’s a necessity.”

Kapler has taken a long look at Roman Quinn at shortstop the last two days. Quinn played four innings there Sunday against the Twins. He was there for the entire game Monday against the Red Sox.

Quinn grew up playing shortstop and outfield. He broke into pro ball as a shortstop but moved to center field during the 2014 season, when it became clear that J.P. Crawford was the shortstop of the future. Now, Quinn is relearning the shortstop position so he can potentially serve as a utility man on the Phillies’ bench. He’d be an intriguing talent to have on the bench because he’s a switch-hitter with electrifying speed.

As a shortstop, the Phillies won’t be looking for Quinn to be a Gold Glover. They need someone to make the play on an emergency or fill-in basis. Quinn made three plays in Monday’s game. He short-hopped one throw and Carlos Santana made the pick. He knocked down one ball, recovered and made a strong throw for an out. He made a nice play on a groundball while shifted behind second. It wasn't the prettiest exhibition, but it got the job done.

“The more I play there, the more comfortable I’m getting,” Quinn said. “I’m enjoying it. I’d like to think I can play any position. It’s fun coming in from center field and playing shortstop. I love it.”

Quinn turns 25 in May. Some schools of thought might come down against carrying a player of his potential as a reserve. Certainly, more time in Triple A would not hurt him, especially after missing more than three months with an elbow injury last year. But the Phillies are open to the possibility of carrying Quinn. His shortstop audition the last two days has made that clear.

“Everyday reps at the minor-league level are incredibly valuable,” Kapler said. “However, because a guy is on the bench at the major-league level doesn’t mean his development is stunted. He’s getting a different kind of experience and a really valuable experience.”

Tom Eshelman was charged with four runs in the bottom of the ninth as the Phils squandered a three-run lead and lost, 6-5, to Boston.

Aaron Altherr drove in four runs. He belted a three-run homer in the fifth inning against Boston ace Chris Sale. Cesar Hernandez grinded out a long at-bat before striking out and Santana and Rhys Hoskins both walked before the home run.

“When you have a guy like Sale, making him work is critical,” Kapler said. “Cesar’s punchout was an incredible at-bat. Santana and Hoskins made him work. [Sale] gets a little fatigued and Altherr gets a pitch to whack. So Altherr hitting a home run doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens as a result of team baseball.”