Orioles closer Jim Johnson (back) throws off mound

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Orioles closer Jim Johnson came down with a bit of back tightness after his first few workouts in spring camp. But the right-hander is already back on track.

According to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, Johnson threw off a mound early Sunday morning in Orioles camp and reported no lingering pain or discomfort. Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters that the bullpen session “went great.”

Johnson, 28, posted a cool 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 69 appearances last season, striking out 58 batters and issuing only 21 walks across 91 innings. He will serve as Baltimore’s ninth-inning man in 2012.

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.