Cliff Lee throws three-inning simulated game, could be ready for a minor league rehab start

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From beat writer Todd Zolecki of MLB.com

Cliff Lee continues to recover from his strained left elbow, taking another step forward today at Marlins Park.

He threw 60 pitches in a three-inning simulated game.

“We’re on pace,” Lee said.

The veteran southpaw is hoping that his next step is going to be a minor league rehab start. A decision on that will not be made until Lee is reevaluated by team doctors on Wednesday morning. “I’ve been feeling better every day,” he said Tuesday.

Lee had a 3.18 ERA and 61/9 K/BB ratio in 68 innings before injuring his left elbow in May. If he makes it back before the July 31 trade deadline and proves his health, he’ll be a big target for contending teams.

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UPDATE, 6:25 p.m. ET: A followup from CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury

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.