Tommy Hanson to miss Friday start, but avoid disabled list

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Tommy Hanson’s struggles since the All-Star break and diminished velocity have convinced the Braves to scratch him from Friday’s scheduled start, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he’ll avoid the disabled list for now.

Hanson declined to discuss whether he’s been pitching through any arm problems while posting an 8.10 ERA since the All-Star break, but there’s been speculation about his shoulder hurting.

Hanson had a 2.89 ERA in 2009, a 3.33 ERA in 2010, and a 2.44 ERA through the All-Star break this year, but in five second-half starts he’s coughed up 24 runs in 27 innings while allowing opponents to hit .313 with a .970 OPS.

Because the Braves have an off day Thursday they can skip Hanson’s turn in the rotation and use Mike Minor on regular rest without changing anyone else’s schedule. And in the meantime Braves fans will hope a week off is enough to cure the 24-year-old ace.

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.