Francisco Rodriguez pitching through back pain

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Francisco Rodriguez was visibly uncomfortable on the mound during the ninth inning
of Friday’s 5-2 win over the Twins, even requiring a visit from Mets manager Jerry Manuel
and trainer Ray Ramirez.

Though he was able to finish off his 17th save, he told Adam Rubin of ESPN.com that the dramatic back pain he experienced at Fenway Park last May has never completely gone away.

“Boston, I wasn’t even able to move. I’ve been dealing with this for a
while. I’ve been doing more stretching and some treatment on it. But
today it got a little worse. I think I’ll be all right tomorrow.”
 

The Mets’ closer indicated that he recently received a cortisone injection before the club’s recent roadtrip, but said that it only lessened the pain for “like four or five hours.” The pain hasn’t prevented him from pitching until this point and Jerry Manuel told reporters Saturday that K-Rod will be available for this afternoon’s game.

Rodriguez has a 2.13 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a 48/13 K/BB ratio over 38 innings this season.

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.