Stephen Strasburg dominant in first MLB start back from Tommy John surgery

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Stephen Strasburg just completed his first MLB start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last September. And it was fantastic.

Strasburg held the Dodgers to just two hits over five scoreless innings. He threw 40 out of 56 pitches for strikes while striking out four and walking none.

According to Brooks Baseball, Strasburg averaged 96.68 mph on his fastball and topped out at 98.7 mph while his changeup and curveball were just as nasty as they were before the surgery. The Nationals gave up three runs in the top of the sixth inning to erase a 3-0 lead, so Strasburg will be handed a no-decision. It would have been nice to see him get the victory, but the important part is that he walked away healthy.

Each of Strasburg’s first 13 major league starts have been an event. I suppose we’ll eventually get to the point where a Strasburg start will feel like a Justin Verlander start or a Tim Lincecum start, but hopefully he’ll continue to be appointment viewing for a long time. Nice to have him back.

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.