Vazquez past elbow issues, cleared for Saturday start

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Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez was scratched from a scheduled Grapefruit League appearance on Tuesday due to soreness in his right elbow.

The club claimed at the time that the injury was minor, and it turns out they were right.

According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Vazquez threw a pain-free bullpen session on Wednesday in Marlins camp and has been cleared to start Saturday’s game against the Cardinals.

The Marlins signed Vazquez to a one-year, $7 million contract this offseason which should prove to be a bargain if the 34-year-old is able to bounce back. He posted a rough 5.32 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over 31 appearances for the Yankees last year, but he was the recipient of Cy Young Award votes in 2009 with the Braves.

The Fish are hoping that Vazquez can return to his 2009 form now that he’s back in the National League.

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.