Tim Lincecum cleared for next start after liner to shoulder

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Tim Lincecum took a line drive off the back of his right shoulder on the final pitch of his start last Wednesday, but the Giants insisted afterward that he could have remained in the game had he not already thrown 111 pitches and sure enough his next start will come right on schedule.
Lincecum threw his usual between-starts bullpen session yesterday and reported no problems, clearing him to face Roy Oswalt and the Astros tomorrow. Lincecum’s velocity is down and he’s been merely very good rather than his usual dominant self for the past month, so facing the Astros’ awful lineup will be a good test for the back-to-back reigning Cy Young winner.
He’s faced Houston twice already this season, going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA, but both starts came before his stretch of non-dominance.

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.