UPDATE: It's Strasburg Day… for a second time

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strasburg lineup card.JPGUPDATE: Strasburg allowed zero runs and only two hits Sunday over three innings of work against the Cards.  He also fanned two batters and tallied six groundouts.

12:23pm: It is Stephen Strasburg Day again in south Florida, as the young right-handed starter is scheduled to make his second appearance of the spring this afternoon against the Cardinals. 

Strasburg turned in two scoreless frames in his Grapefruit League debut last week versus the Tigers, hitting 98 MPH with his fastball and displaying a gorgeously sharp slider.  According to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler, tickets for Sunday’s spring game are fairly tough to come by, and the Nationals are certainly hoping that excitement will carry over to the nation’s capital once the regular season begins.

Washington manager Jim Riggleman has yet to make a decision on where Strasburg will open the 2010 season and continues to tell reporters that the club is employing a “wait and see” approach.  In other words, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick is in control of his own destiny.  If he continues to rattle off scoreless innings we’ll see him in a big league uniform in early April.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with 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.