Mitch Moreland misses two games with abscessed tooth

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Mitch Moreland was out of the Rangers’ lineup yesterday for the second straight game because of an abscessed tooth and will use today’s break in the schedule to undergo oral surgery, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Mike Napoli came out from behind the plate to start at first base in Moreland’s absence yesterday, but Sullivan reports that the Rangers expect him to be ready to play again post-surgery as soon as tomorrow versus the Red Sox.

The tooth problems compound a rough start for Moreland, who’s followed up a disappointing sophomore season by going 3-for-20 (.150) through six games. He needs to start hitting to keep his job, so the clock will be ticking once Moreland returns from surgery.

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.