Nationals activate Stephen Strasburg from the disabled list

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From beat writer James Wagner of the Washington Post comes word that the Nationals have, as scheduled, activated ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg from the 15-day disabled list. Strasburg will return to the Nats’ starting rotation on Sunday afternoon to face the Indians after sitting out the past two-plus weeks due to a mild (Grade 1) lat strain.

Strasburg owns a cool 2.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through 12 starts this season. The 24-year-old has fanned a total of 73 batters in 74 1/3 innings.

Washington enters play Sunday with a 34-33 record, good for second place in the National League East.

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.