Cardinals activate Yadier Molina from the disabled list

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Yadier Molina is off the disabled list and back in the Cardinals’ lineup today for the first time since July 30, returning after missing the minimum 15 days with a sprained right knee.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has said repeatedly that he plans to give Molina more rest than usual down the stretch, although that’s one of those things that tends to be easier said than done if Molina picks up where he left off hitting .330 and the team is fighting for the NL Central title.

St. Louis is just 12-13 when Molina isn’t in the starting lineup this season, compared to 56-38 when he starts, and while those type of numbers tend to overstate the impact one player can make on a baseball team there’s no arguing that he’s one of the most valuable all-around players in the league.

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.