Cliff Lee (abdomen) placed on disabled list

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cliff lee throwing.JPGJanie McCauley of the Associated Press (via NBCSports.com) reports that the Mariners have placed left-hander Cliff Lee on the 15-day disabled list to start the season as he continues his recovery from an abdominal strain.

Lee enjoyed a pain-free throwing session late last week and is making progress toward a return, but the M’s have not revealed any sort of timetable.  Since he hasn’t begun throwing from a mound, we can probably write him off for at least the first two weeks of the regular season.  A return before the end of April would, of course, be a real positive for Seattle. 

The 31-year-old southpaw went 14-13 last season with a 3.22 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 181 strikeouts in 231 2/3 innings between Cleveland and Philadelphia.  He should enjoy the spacious confines of Safeco Field once he’s able to regain his health.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle 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.