Jeff Samardzija keeps rolling, shuts out MLB’s top lineup

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Toronto has had by far the best offense in baseball this season, scoring 5.4 runs per game while none of the other teams are above 4.6 runs per game, but this afternoon the (admittedly short-handed) Blue Jays were no match for White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija, an impending free agent whose name has been popping up frequently in trade speculation, tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout on just 108 pitches.

He’s had a disappointing season and carrying a 4.93 ERA into mid-June certainly wasn’t what the White Sox were hoping for when they acquired Samardzija from the A’s, but in his last six starts he’s now got a 2.40 ERA and 39/8 K/BB ratio in 45 innings. And he’s thrown at least seven innings in 11 of 13 starts since May 1.

Samardzija remains one of the best pitchers likely to be available at the trade deadline.

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.