Casey Janssen throws “impressive” bullpen session, nearing return from abdominal injury

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Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen is almost fully recovered from his late-spring left abdominal strain.

John Lott of Canada’s National Post reports that the right-hander threw a bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon, which manager John Gibbons called “impressive.” Janssen will throw another bullpen session in the next couple of days and should then be cleared for a minor league rehab assignment.

Sergio Santos will continue to close for now.

Janssen registered an outstanding 2.56 ERA, 0.987 WHIP, and 50/13 K/BB ratio across 52 2/3 innings last season for the Blue Jays, saving 34 games in 36 opportunities.

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.