Cardinals place Skip Schumaker on DL, activate Nick Punto

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St. Louis placed starting second baseman Skip Schumaker on the disabled list with a strained right biceps that he suffered Friday and Nick Punto was activated to take his spot on the roster after being sidelined since late February following hernia surgery.

Schumaker’s injury likely pushed up the timetable on Punto’s return a bit, as he comes off the DL without going on a minor-league rehab assignment or seeing any action during spring training.

He was signed to be a utility man after spending the past seven seasons as Ron Gardehire’s favorite toy in Minnesota, but Punto could easily sneak his way into the lineup over other fill-in options Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene if manager Tony La Russa falls in love with his defense or just really, really loves when someone slides head-first into first base.

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.