Andre Ethier aiming to return for Game 3 of NLCS

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Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier played nearly 13 whole innings in Friday night’s NLCS Game 1 loss to the Cardinals and woke up on Saturday morning with renewed soreness in his troublesome lower left leg. Ethier was on the bench for Game 2 on Saturday afternoon but the situation has apparently improved.

According to beat writers Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Ethier is “confident” that he will be able to return to the starting lineup in Game 3 on Monday at Dodger Stadium. Sunday’s day off should help matters.

Ethier is 1-for-9 with two walks and four strikeouts so far in the 2013 postseason. Skip Schumaker played center field in NLCS Game 2 on Saturday and will probably fill in again in Game 3 if Ethier can’t go.

The status of shortstop Hanley Ramirez (rib cage) is still unclear.

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.