Skip Schumaker cleared for minor league rehab games

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Cardinals utilityman Skip Schumaker could be ready to join the big league roster later this week.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 32-year-old is in the starting lineup, playing second base, Sunday at Triple-A Memphis. It’s his first minor league rehab game.

Schumaker has been on the disabled list since the start of the regular season because of a torn right oblique muscle that he suffered in mid-March.

He hit .283/.333/.351 with two homers and 38 RBI in 400 plate appearances last year for the World Series champs, and will provide a backup presence this summer at second base, left field, right field, and in center.

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.