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.
Injury update. Will Middlebrooks has fractured L fibula. Ankle still being evaluated. Kapler called it fairly significant injury.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) February 25, 2018
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.”