Clay Buchholz could begin rehab assignment Sunday

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Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald has the story:

SAN FRANCISCO — Mark the calendar: Clay Buchholz could make his first minor league start Sunday.

Buchholz threw 46 pitches in a four-inning simulated game here today. He pitched to right-handed hitters David Ross, Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts and threw his full repertoire of pitches.

Buchholz is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday in Los Angeles and could then be cleared to head to Low-A Lowell to kick off a minor league rehab assignment.

Buchholz hasn’t appeared in a major league game since August 8 due to neck and shoulder troubles. If he does a three-game minor league rehab assignment, he should be ready to return on September 10.

The right-hander was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 12 starts before landing on the disabled list.

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.