Holliday set for Friday return, Berkman could miss weekend

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The Cardinals received good news Thursday evening on all three of their starting outfielders.

Colby Rasmus returned to center field and doubled in an afternoon victory over the Astros, left fielder Matt Holliday has been cleared of his quad discomfort and is expected to return Friday, and right fielder Lance Berkman underwent an MRI on his wrist that ruled out ligament damage.

That all comes from ESPN 101’s Brian Stull.

The Cardinals have featured one of baseball’s most productive outfields this season. Rasmus has an .855 OPS and 32 runs scored, Holliday is batting an MVP-like .357/.444/.557 with 28 RBI, and Berkman has a stunning .349/.455/.683 slash line with 11 home runs and 35 RBI.

Rasmus and Holliday should be able to play all three games of the Cardinals’ upcoming interleague weekend series against the Royals. Berkman is likely to return to the starting lineup by early next week.

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.