Pablo Sandoval scratched due to elbow discomfort

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Pablo Sandoval has played in fewer than 120 games in each of the past two seasons. With today’s news, the Giants are hoping the trend does not continue in 2013. Andrew Baggarly reports Sandoval was scratched from the Giants’ lineup an hour before their Cactus League game against the Colorado Rockies:

Joaquin Arias replaced Sandoval in the lineup, batting sixth. Hunter Pence moved from fifth to third.

Sandoval did not appear to have any trouble making several strong throws across the diamond on Saturday; he also played catch Sunday with no apparent problems.

Sandoval earned World Series MVP honors last year, helping lead his Giants to their second championship in three years. In a clean sweep of the Detroit Tigers, Sandoval hit .500 with three home runs. When healthy, he is one of the best-hitting third basemen in baseball.

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.