Desmond Jennings expects to return Monday

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Great news here for the second-place Rays.

According to beat reporter Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune, outfielder Desmond Jennings had no issues with his once-fractured left middle finger Wednesday while taking swings off a batting tee and is aiming to return to the Rays’ active 25-man roster on Monday evening for the opening of a big three-game series against the third-place Orioles.

Jennings was placed on the 15-day disabled list August 5 after suffering the minor middle finger fracture on a hard slide into the second base bag.

The dynamic 26-year-old was batting .258/.326/.419 with 11 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 104 games before the injury. Tampa Bay is currently four games back of Boston in the American League East.

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.