Rangers sluggers Cruz and Hamilton nearing rehab games

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The Rangers should be whole again soon.

According to the Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, right fielder Nelson Cruz is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Monday at Double-A Frisco and left fielder Josh Hamilton is expected to join him on Wednesday.

Cruz has been sidelined since May 3, when he strained his right quadriceps muscle. He should only need three or four rehab games before the Rangers clear him to return to the major leagues.

Hamilton might need a bit longer. He’s been on the disabled list since the second week of the regular season with a broken bone in his upper right arm and is likely to require a full week of minor league at-bats to get his timing back.

Texas is also missing starting center fielder Julio Borbon, who hit the disabled list this weekend due to inflammation in his left hamstring. It’s no wonder the Rangers have fallen to second place in the AL West.

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.