Shane Victorino cleared to begin rehab assignment

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Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino is recovered enough from a hamstring strain that he’s been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Saturday at Triple-A.

Quinn Roberts of MLB.com reports that Victorino is scheduled to play 5-7 innings in the outfield Saturday and perhaps get in a full game for Pawtucket on Monday and Tuesday, at which point the Red Sox may decide he’s ready to come off the disabled list.

This is the second time Victorino has been on the shelf this season, hitting just .242 with one homer and a .627 OPS in 21 games between the injuries. He hasn’t played since May 24 and his return could push the Red Sox into parting ways with Grady Sizemore, who’s really struggled since a good first week.

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.