Brett Anderson thinks he can start Friday

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Brett Anderson missed his two final scheduled regular-season starts because of a strained oblique, but after throwing a bullpen session Monday, he said he believes he’ll be ready to pitch Friday should the A’s have need of him, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The A’s would play their wild card game Friday if they win one or two of their final three regular-season games against the Rangers. If they sweep Texas, then they’d win the AL West and avoid the wild card. If they get swept, then they might face a potential play-in game against the Angels or Rays for the wild card.

Oakland’s projected Friday starter is Tommy Milone. He had a bit of an off day Sunday against the Mariners, but he still finished the regular season 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA. Not having pitched in a couple of weeks, Anderson might be a more realistic option as a reliever in that game should the need arise.

Still, the A’s have to be thrilled that Anderson has progressed without a setback. Without him, they’d be slated to start rookie pitchers for the entirety of their postseason run. Anderson has only made a handful of starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, so he’s hardly a sure thing. However, he had a very impressive 1.93 ERA in his first five outings before injuring his oblique in his sixth.

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.