Stephen Strasburg appears likely to miss another start

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As Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington notes, Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to make his scheduled start Sunday against the Phillies.

Starting pitchers usually require a bullpen session a few days before they take the mound and the Nats have shut their prized right-hander down indefinitely.  Even if he’s cleared to throw Friday, the Nationals won’t want to rush him into a Sunday afternoon start. 

Zuckerman asked manager Jim Riggleman if he would be surprised to see Strasburg take the mound against the Phils, and here was his response:

“I don’t want to say I’ll be surprised, because then if I pitch him
Sunday, it contradicts itself. But as you said, we’ve been cautious, and
we’ll continue to be cautious.”

Strasburg was scratched Monday after reporting soreness in his throwing shoulder and he was later revealed to have a bit of inflammation.  He is already the face of the franchise in Washington and the Nats aren’t chasing a pennant this season.  We would be shocked if he pitches before Monday of next week, when the Nationals kick off a four-game series in Arizona.

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.