Manny Machado suffers severe leg injury versus Rays

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All-Star third baseman Manny Machado injured his left knee stepping awkwardly on first base in the seventh inning Monday and had to be carted off the field in the loss to the Rays.

The Orioles declined to go into detail about the injury after the game, but they said the plan was for Machado to travel home with the team and undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

While injuries of this nature typically happen on bang-bang plays at first base where the runner is trying to stretch that extra bit, Machado had eased up and was watching the ball, which had skipped away, as his left foot hit the side of the bag and rolled. He immediately went down in pain and was clearly in agony as he was being attended to.

The injury will obviously keep Machado sidelined for the rest of 2013, and the Orioles can only hope it’s not something that’s going to linger into next year. The 21-year-old Machado has established himself as one of the game’s very best young players while hitting .282/.313/.431 with 14 homers and 51 doubles and playing Gold Glove defense at third base this year.

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.