Back injury sends Jason Motte to the disabled list again

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Jason Motte’s return from Tommy John elbow surgery is on hold, as the Cardinals have placed the 32-year-old reliever on the disabled list with a lower back injury.

Motte has looked nothing like his former dominant self after missing all of last season, striking out just 16 batters in 22 innings while serving up seven homers on the way to a 4.91 ERA. His average fastball has clocked in at 93.9 miles per hour, compared to 96.8 mph in 2012.

Prior to blowing out his elbow Motte had a lifetime 2.87 ERA and 273 strikeouts in 260 innings and saved a league-leading 42 games for the Cardinals in 2012.

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.