Phil Hughes ready for minor league rehab assignment

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After throwing an extended bullpen session earlier this afternoon, Phil Hughes told Chad Jennings of the Journal News that he expects to make his first minor league rehab start in five days.

“I felt like balls were coming out pretty good,” Hughes said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

While Hughes isn’t sure where he’ll report to make the start, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told him he’s probably going to throw about five innings.

Hughes was placed on the disabled list earlier this month with a “dead arm” after he showed diminished velocity while posting a 13.94 ERA over his first three starts. He has averaged just 89.2 mph on his heater this season compared to 92.6 mph last season.

There was no radar gun in the bullpen today, but you can bank on hearing plenty of reports when he makes his first rehab start on Thursday.

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.