Evan Longoria out of Rays’ lineup with discomfort in left side

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Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that third baseman Evan Longoria is missing from the Rays’ starting lineup Sunday against the Mariners due to tightness in his left side.

Longoria actually made an early exit from Saturday’s game because of the discomfort, which may be related to the left oblique strain that caused him to miss 28 games earlier this season.

The Rays are going to play this one safe, though all indications point to the 25-year-old avoiding another stint on the 15-day disabled list. Felipe Lopez started at third base on Sunday afternoon against Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard. The Rays don’t have an off day Monday.

Longoria is batting .239/.351/.425 with four home runs and 12 RBI this season. He’s played in only 32 games.

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.