Instead of making his big-league debut this year Mariners pitching prospect and former No. 2 overall pick Danny Hultzen missed most of the season with a shoulder injury and now he’ll likely miss all of next season too.
Hultzen underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum damage in his shoulder, which is basically the worst-case scenario for a pitcher. He entered this season ranked as a top-30 prospect by Baseball America and MLB.com, but made just six starts before being shut down at Triple-A.
Initially the Mariners described his shoulder problems as “minor” but last week general manager Jack Zduriencik encouraged Hultzen to see Dr. Andrews for a second opinion because the team doctor “doesn’t like what he sees.”
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.