Jordan Zimmermann returns from flu to start for Nationals

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Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who was scratched from yesterday’s start with what the team called flu-like symptoms, is recovered enough to start today against the Braves.

Tanner Roark took Zimmermann’s place yesterday and tossed six innings of two-run ball in an 8-2 victory over the Mets. It’s unclear exactly what the Nationals’ plan was if Zimmermann weren’t able to pitch today, but manager Matt Williams hinted that he may have gone with a “bullpen game” using an assortment of relievers rather than changing Taylor Jordan’s schedule to make him the fill-in starter.

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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.