A’s scratch Jarrod Parker due to illness, will start Tommy Milone on Sunday in Texas

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The Athletics are looking to sweep the Rangers in Arlington and push their division lead to 6 1/2 games, but the hot-hitting Yoenis Cespedes was scratched before Sunday’s series finale and now an emergency starting pitcher is going to be taking the mound.

From MLB.com’s Jane Lee comes word that righty Jarrod Parker will not make his scheduled Sunday start because of an illness. Tommy Milone, who was moved to the bullpen in late August and owns a 4.61 ERA in the second half, will get the nod instead.

Parker is 5-0 with a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 42/13 K/BB ratio over 56 1/3 innings since August 3.

Assuming it’s the flu, he should be able to take his turn early this week.

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.