They’re running out of time, but the Rays haven’t given up on Jesse Crain throwing a pitch for them this season.
Acquired from the White Sox in late July while on the disabled list for a shoulder injury, Crain remains on the DL six weeks later. However, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times he threw a bullpen session today without any problems and could be cleared to pitch a simulated game against live hitters later this week.
Tampa Bay knew the risks with Crain at the time of the trade and got him at a discount because of it, so at this point any contribution from him down the stretch (and perhaps in the playoffs) is probably viewed as a bonus. Crain had a 0.74 ERA and 46/11 K/BB ratio in 37 innings for the White Sox before being shut down, making his first All-Star at age 31 with free agency right around the corner.
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.