Rays reliever J.P. Howell diagnosed with gout

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Rays reliever J.P. Howell left the team and traveled back to Florida to have his left foot examined by team doctors yesterday and the southpaw has been diagnosed with gout.

Howell pitched through the pain twice already and Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that he’ll likely be back with the Rays tonight and available out of the bullpen at some point this weekend, avoiding a trip to the disabled list.

He’ll no doubt do anything he can to avoid the DL after missing all of last season and most of this year following shoulder surgery. Howell has allowed 12 runs in 8.2 innings since returning.

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.