Matt Harrison cleared to begin rehab assignment

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Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, who hasn’t pitched since mid-April following multiple back surgeries, is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Wednesday.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Harrison will throw two innings at Double-A or Triple-A and will probably make at least 4-5 starts in the minors before rejoining the Rangers.

Harrison made his first All-Star team last season at age 26 and then started on Opening Day for the Rangers this season, but went 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in two starts before being shut down. If healthy he’d provide another boost to Texas’ rotation, but recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disk makes him no sure thing to make a stretch-run impact.

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.