Jayson Werth could miss another two weeks with hamstring injury

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The Nationals have Bryce Harper back in the starting lineup tonight against the Giants, but it appears that Jayson Werth’s absence from a hamstring injury will be a little longer than initially expected.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Amanda Comak of the Washington Times that he received an “alarming” report on Werth today. No word yet on the specific nature of the setback, but Johnson estimated that he could be sidelined for another two weeks. The Nationals were originally hoping to have him back over the weekend, but he experienced some tightness in his first rehab game last Wednesday. And now they’ll have to wait even longer.

Werth, who turned 34 today, is batting .260/.308/.400 with four home runs, 10 RBI and a .708 OPS through 27 games this season. Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina have seen increased playing time during his absence.

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.