Jake Arrieta has been a mess since shutting down Yankees

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Jake Arrieta shut out the Yankees for eight innings on May 2, striking nine and walking none, and it looked like the 26-year-old right-hander might finally be living up to the promise he showed as a top prospect in the Orioles’ farm system.

Instead he’s been a mess since then, going 0-5 with a 7.96 ERA in six starts. Sunday versus the Rays he failed to make it out of the fifth inning for the third time in his last five outings, leading to speculation that he might be headed for Triple-A.

Arrieta’s secondary numbers during that time aren’t nearly as hideous as his win-loss record or ERA, as he’s posted a decent 28/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings, but he’s allowed opponents to bat .330 with five homers.

There’s still time for Arrieta to get back on track and become an impact pitcher for the Orioles, but any thoughts of him developing into a top-of-the-rotation starter are rapidly disappearing and may already be gone. He’s started 52 career games and thrown 290 innings … and has a 5.03 ERA with just 6.3 strikeouts per nine frames.

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.