Chris Carpenter stays in after six first-inning runs

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This afternoon Chris Carpenter got knocked around for six first-inning runs against the Marlins, including a pair of hits from reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, and made a diving play to tag Emilio Bonifacio just to get out of the opening frame.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that Carpenter has never allowed six first-inning runs in a regular season start, yet he actually remained in today’s game to pitch three more innings and threw a total of 71 pitches.
He allowed seven runs in all, which matches Carpenter’s worst outing from last season against the Giants on September 13. And he threw six innings versus San Francisco that day. In more encouraging Cardinals news Albert Pujols went deep for the first time this spring after ending last season with a homerless streak of 113 plate appearances.

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.