Cole Hamels goes seven innings in latest rehab start, on track to join Phillies next week

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Cole Hamels was forced to begin the season on the 15-day disabled list after he was slowed this spring with left biceps tendinitis, but all signs point to him being activated next week.

According to Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News, Hamels tossed seven innings of one-run ball tonight with High-A Clearwater in what was likely his final minor league rehab start. The southpaw gave up three hits and one walk while the lone run scored on a solo homer. He threw a total of 81 pitches and struck out two batters.

Through three rehab starts, Hamels has a 2.12 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio in 17 innings. Most importantly, he hasn’t had any physical issues. If all goes according to plan, he could join the Phillies’ rotation as soon as next Tuesday against the Dodgers.

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.