Joba Chamberlain to have Tommy John surgery

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UPDATE: It’s official: Joba is going to have Tommy John surgery next week with Dr. James Andrews.  Tough break, kid.  Or, well, tough tear.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Mr. Chamberlain’s name to The Human Fund.

YESTERDAY, WHEN THERE WAS STILL HOPE LEFT IN THE WORLD: Bad news came back for Joba Chamberlain a few minutes ago: he has a torn elbow ligament.

Joe Girardi just told the Yankees beat writers that, while a decisions hasn’t been made yet, he believes that Tommy John surgery is likely. That would obviously end Joba’s season. And would kill the majority of next season.

The weird thing is that there wasn’t any warning or any obvious incident of injury here. Until he was shut down yesterday, he had been pitching fine. There was no walk-off-the-mound-holding-his-elbow moment. No unexplained implosion brought on by a sudden loss of velocity. He just got shut off like a switch. Guess that’s just how ligaments roll sometimes.

Going into the season the idea was that the Yankees bullpen was going to be all aces, with Mariano Rivera owning the ninth, Rafael Soriano setting things up in the eighth and Chamberlain manning the seventh most days.  Now Mariano stands alone.

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.