John Lackey scratched from final regular season start

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From beat reporter Sean McAdam of CSN New England comes word that Red Sox righty John Lackey has been scratched from his scheduled start in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Orioles for the purpose of rest. Boston has already secured the American League East title and the top spot in the American League playoff seeding, so there’s nothing left to gain on Sunday at Camden Yards.

Allen Webster is going to start in Lackey’s place.

Lackey, 34, will finish the 2013 regular season with a cool 3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 161/40 K/BB ratio in 189 1/3 innings. The Red Sox will open their five-game ALDS this Friday at Fenway Park against the winner of the American League Wild Card Game.

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.