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gods-wrathChicago Cubs reserve infielder Andres Blanco is battling in Spring Training for one of the last two spots on the bench, and things took a dark turn for him yesterday on a pick-off play at second base.

Andres Blanco underwent an MRI on his right knee after suffering a Grade 2 sprain in the sixth inning Saturday. He’s expected to be out seven to 10 days. He apparently got his spikes locked in the infield dirt at HoHoKam Park when he made a play at second base on the White Sox’s Jason Botts. Blanco tried to turn and his cleats locked. Muskat Ramblings.

Recall, Lou Piniella’s plan appears to be having Mike Fontenot as the primary backup at shortstop, which would obviate the need for Blanco anyway. But that plan is far from a guaranteed success. With Blanco missing a couple of critical weeks, young shortstop Darwin Barney (great with the glove, Blanco-ish at the dish) will see a great deal more action at shortstop with a chance to win a spot on the team, should the Fontenot plan fail.

All-universe prospect Starlin Castro will see more time at short now, as well, but you have to believe this has no impact on the Cubs’ plans: unless Castro makes the team as the starter at short (not gonna happen), he’s not going to be carried as a reserve.

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