Jaime Garcia to begin rehab assignment in 10-14 days

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Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia hasn’t appeared in a game since June 5 due to tearing in his rotator cuff and labrum. But things are suddenly looking up.

Andrew Wagaman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Garcia is headed down to the Cardinals’ spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida on Sunday and is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment within the next 10-14 days. That pegs his return to the major leagues for mid-August.

Garcia, 26, signed a four-year, $27.5 million contract extension with St. Louis last July. The native of Reynosa, Mexico has a 3.45 career ERA in more than 440 major league innings. He had a 4.48 ERA in 66 1/3 frames this year before hitting the shelf.

The Cardinals enter play Sunday trailing the Reds by five games in the National League Central standings.

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.