Hong-Chih Kuo might be traveling down the Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel path again

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Hong-Chih Kuo missed time in 2009 with the dreaded “yips” and was on the disabled list earlier this season with “anxiety issues,” both of which make his inability to throw strikes last night doubly worrisome for the Dodgers.

When healthy and on top of his game Kuo is among the elite, most dominating relievers in baseball, but yesterday he threw just five of 17 pitches for strikes, walked two of the four batters he faced, uncorked a wild pitch, and coughed up three runs while recording one out.

However, when asked by Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times if he was concerned about the outing, Kuo replied:

I walked a couple guys, I feel good. I just didn’t have command today. I feel bad I didn’t get guys out, but I go out there and I feel good.

I might be inclined to agree with Kuo, except his lack of command wasn’t just a one-game thing. Combined during his last four appearances Kuo has walked seven of 15 batters while giving up six runs and recording five total outs. He also has 15 walks in 16 innings overall this season after walking just 18 batters in 60 innings last year. Either he’s hurt or something simply isn’t right.

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.