Mat Latos rocked Wednesday in minor league spring game

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Padres right-hander Mat Latos did not have the best Wednesday afternoon.

According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the 23-year-old labored through a 3.2-inning appearance in a minor league intrasquad game, surrendering five earned runs on six hits and issuing three walks. He struck out six, but he needed a total of 76 pitches to get through the short outing.

Latos told the Union-Tribune after the game that he “couldn’t get any adrenaline pumping” and wasn’t throwing at full force against the group of Padres minor leaguers — many of whom he still knows well from the two-plus years that he spent in the Friars’ farm system.

“I played with 90 percent of those guys,” Latos said. “I’m not going to go hard inside and risk hitting one of them. There were positive things. I had a good downhill angle. I worked at a fast tempo. My two-seamer (fastball) was moving.”

That’s all well and good, but Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley didn’t appreciate the youngster throwing his glove against the dugout wall after he was pulled with one out remaining in the fourth inning.

“I would have liked to see better body language from Mat today,” said Balsley. “But he’ll calm down once we start the season. Last year he did a good job with mound presence and poise. He’s aware of his emotions.”

Latos is entering the 2011 season with sky-high expectations after the 2.92 ERA and 189 strikeouts that he tallied across 184.2 innings last year. Rotoworld has him as the seventh most valuable fantasy starter.

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.