Diagnosis for Tommy Hanson: small tear in rotator cuff

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The Braves announced prior to Friday’s game that an MRI showed a small tear in Tommy Hanson’s rotator cuff that won’t require surgery.  The hope is that he’ll return to the rotation in mid-September.

It’s a scary diagnosis for Braves fans, though it certainly could be worse; most major league pitchers have some sort of rotator cuff and/or labrum damage after a few years on the job.  Hanson’s tear doesn’t qualify as particularly unusual.  Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t worsen and require surgery at some point.

The Braves would certainly love to have Hanson back to join Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Brandon Beachy in their postseason rotation.  If he can’t go, that means Derek Lowe figures to find himself in the fourth spot.  There’s also the possibility that Hanson could return as a reliever, but he should have time to get stretched back out if his rehab goes as planned.

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.