Nick Blackburn’s shoulder MRI shows no structural damage

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Finally, a dose of good news for the Twins.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that an MRI exam taken Saturday on the sore right shoulder of Twins starter Nick Blackburn revealed only inflammation. No structural damage.

Blackburn made a premature exit from his start Saturday afternoon vs. the Rangers due to shoulder discomfort. But he’s going to avoid the disabled list and might not even miss a turn in the rotation.

Blackburn, 30, has surrendered 12 hits and seven earned runs in 11 1/3 innings so far this season. He registered a 4.49 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 76/54 K/BB ratio across 148 1/3 frames last year.

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.