Edinson Volquez pitches well as rehab stint moves to Triple-A

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After making his first two rehab starts in the low minors, Edinson Volquez moved up to Triple-A this afternoon for the first time since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in August and allowed one run in five innings.
Volquez threw 49 of 80 pitches for strikes, giving up three hits while striking out one and walking zero. He previously tossed eight scoreless innings with a 7/0 K/BB ratio at Single-A, so the early post-surgery returns are very promising for the 26-year-old right-hander.
Because he was recovering from the surgery anyway and not yet ready to begin pitching again Volquez was able to serve his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance without any real consequence. His first rehab outing came about two weeks after the suspension ended.
He’s expected to make at least two more rehab starts before potentially rejoining the Reds right around the All-Star break and for now the plan is for him to reclaim a spot in the rotation. Volquez was an All-Star in 2008, going 17-6 with a 3.22 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 196 innings, but was shut down after just nine starts last season and hasn’t faced big-league hitters since June 1, 2009.

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.