Hisashi Iwakuma won’t begin throwing for another three weeks

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Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma won’t throw for another three weeks due to a strained tendon in his middle finger, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Iwakuma was expected to miss four to six weeks and rejoin the rotation in mid-to-late April.

The news comes on the same day the Mariners shut down Taijuan Walker due to shoulder inflammation. Suddenly, the Mariners’ rotation isn’t looking so good beyond Felix Hernandez. The Mariners have repeatedly been linked to free agent starter Ervin Santana, so it will be interesting to see if they bite the bullet as a result of the injury bug.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with 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.