Yu Darvish throws an 89-pitch bullpen session, nearing return to Rangers’ starting rotation

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish was placed on the 15-day disabled list the night before the start of the regular season with discomfort in his neck. But it looks as though he’ll only miss one turn in the rotation.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, Darvish threw an 89-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday evening at Globe Life Park and had no issues with his neck. “We did the assimilation of probably four innings of work, getting up and down,” pitching coach Mike Maddux told Durrett. “All pitches were good. He looked very good, feels healthy.”

The Rangers will wait to see how Darvish feels Wednesday before setting up a plan for his return. He is eligible to be activated on Saturday, and a Sunday or Monday debut in Boston is a possibility.

Darvish, 27, had a stellar 2.83 ERA and an MLB-best 277 strikeouts in 209 2/3 innings last season.

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.