Middleton was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right biceps strain Wednesday.
Middleton exited Tuesday's game against the Orioles after he faced just one batter in the ninth inning, and he's apparently dealing with an injury that will force him to miss time. Right-hander Wyatt Mills was recalled by Seattle to take Middleton's place in the bullpen.
Middleton has fired 5.2 scoreless innings during which he's allowed only one hit while posting a 5:2 K:BB across his last six appearances.
The big right-hander also secured his first hold of the season in his most recent appearance, which consisted of a scoreless two-thirds of an inning versus the Astros on Wednesday. Middleton brings some solid high-leverage experience and a mid-90s fastball to the table, and he's primarily been deployed as a seventh- and eighth-inning asset thus far by manager Scott Servais, although he has gone 2-for-2 on save chances.
Middleton picked up the save in Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader against the Orioles. He gave up a hit with no walks and no strikeouts in his lone inning of work.
Middleton pitched the seventh inning in Game 2, and while he only tossed 10 of his 17 pitches for strikes, that was enough to get the job done. The 27-year-old right-hander, who allowed a single to Rio Ruiz but recorded the three outs with two groundouts and a flyout to right, has not allowed runs in three of his four appearances this season while going 2-for-2 in save opportunities, so he might be in line for high-leverage duties going forward, though Rafael Montero and Kendall Graveman are ahead of him in the pecking order.
Middleton didn't allow a baserunner and had zero strikeouts during a scoreless 10th inning to earn the save Saturday at Minnesota.
The 27-year-old was called upon for the save with Seattle winning 4-3 after closer Rafael Montero and setup man Kendall Graveman were utilized in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Middleton made quick work of the Twins and needed only eight pitches to retire the side. Middleton should continue to see high-leverage work, but it's a stretch to think there's been a changing of the guard after one extra-inning game.
Middleton garnered an Opening Day bullpen spot despite a difficult spring during which he pitched to a 10.13 ERA and 1.75 WHIP across eight appearances.
The 27-year-old undoubtedly helped his cause by posting a trio of scoreless, one-inning efforts to close out exhibition play. Middleton did allow five home runs during the Cactus League slate, but three of those came in a forgettable appearance versus the Rangers during which he surrendered five earned runs overall. He'll likely get some higher-leverage opportunities occasionally, but Rafael Montero is presently entrenched as the full-time closer and Kendall Graveman is likely second in line for saves.
Middleton is still ticketed for high-leverage opportunities during the 2021 season despite struggling thus far in Cactus League play, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com reports.
The big right-hander has allowed a total of seven earned runs on seven hits, including four home runs, and one walk over three innings across his first three spring appearances, so the landing in Seattle has been rough to say the least. However, Kramer notes that Middleton, along with presumptive primary closer Rafael Montero and veteran Kendall Graveman, are the three players the Mariners have earmarked for the "highest-leverage innings." Middleton's difficult exhibition slate thus far is somewhat reminiscent of his 2020 with the Angels (5.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP), but prior to last season, the 27-year-old generated a 6-1 mark, 3.23 ERA, nine saves (in 12 chances) and 12 holds across 91 appearances during the 2017-19 seasons.
Middleton signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Mariners on Wednesday, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports.
Middleton made 13 relief appearances for the Angels in 2020, posting a 5.25 ERA and 1.50 WHIP over 12 innings. He spent the end of the season at the team's alternate training site after being optioned in late August, and he was later non-tendered by the club. While the right-hander hasn't seen excessive major-league work over the past several seasons, he should have a role for the Mariners in 2021.
Middleton was non-tendered by the Angels on Wednesday, Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times reports.
The 27-year-old had a 5.25 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 13 appearances in 2020 before being optioned to the alternate training site in late August, where he remained for the rest of the season. Middleton posted a 3.86 ERA with three saves and 10 holds during his rookie campaign in 2017, but he was marred by injuries before the brief showing last season. The right-hander is now a free agent and may need to settle for a minor-league contract.
Middleton is working at the Angels' alternate training site in an effort to develop more consistent control, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports.
Middleton was optioned to the team's alternate site in Long Beach last week after posting a 5.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 11:6 K:BB in his first 12 innings. The organization remains confident in his ability while acknowledging that the right-hander has had his struggles this season. "We've seen it in the past. We've seen it at times this year. We saw it in spring training. He looked electric. We really just want him to hone in on the zone so those outings where he gets a little out of control and out of whack with his release point don't happen as often," pitching coach Mickey Callaway explained.
Middleton was optioned to the Angels' alternate training site Monday.
He has a 5.91 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 8:5 K:BB over his last 10.2 innings and failed to step up when the Angels had an internal competition for the closer role. Jaime Barria and Cam Bedrosian were added to the active bullpen.
Middleton (0-1) was tagged with the loss Saturday against the Dodgers. He gave up an unearned run in the lone inning he pitched.
Middleton pitched in the 10th for the Angels and took the tough loss when Chris Taylor, who started the inning on second base and later stole third, crossed home plate on a sac fly from Max Muncy. Middleton has posted a 1.50 WHIP during over his last seven appearances.
Middleton came in midway through the sixth inning in his most recent appearance Tuesday against the Mariners.
The 26-year-old righty has an impressive 6:1 K:BB in 4.1 innings this season, but he has also given up three runs on 10 hits and two home runs over that span. The closer role is up for grabs with Hansel Robles getting bumped from the ninth inning, but Ty Buttrey, who got the save in Tuesday's game, seems like the top candidate to keep getting save chances.
Middleton allowed four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six in five Cactus League innings.
Middleton was knocked around for four solo home runs to account for all four runs scored against him in Cactus League play. On a more positive note, the right-hander was reportedly throwing harder this spring after averaging 94.1 mph on his fastball last season -- a significant dropoff from the 96.0 mark he posted in 2018 prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Angels are counting on Middleton to play an important role in their bullpen this season, but he threw only 7.2 big-league innings last year, so it remains to be seen whether he can get back to the level he was at prior to the surgery.
Middleton indicated that he was "happy with" his velocity following his first Cactus League appearance Tuesday, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports.
Though the reliever gave up a solo home run to Reds shortstop Jose Garcia, Middleton was pleased with his performance as a whole. While Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports that there were no public radar gun readings from the outing, Middleton suggested that his fastball speed met his expectations. That likely means it was closer to the 96 mph mark he averaged in 2018 than the 94.1 mph average velocity he posted last season.
Middleton and the Angels avoided arbitration Friday by agreeing to a one-year, $800,000 deal, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports.
Middleton returned from Tommy John surgery in late August and threw 7.2 innings down the stretch. He allowed just one run but walked more batters (seven) than he struck out (six). With a career 3.23 ERA in 83.2 major-league innings, Middleton should be able to fill a fairly high-leverage role this season as long as his injuries are fully behind him.
Middleton pitched two-thirds of an inning against Texas on Wednesday, giving up one hit.
Middleton came on in the sixth inning with two runners aboard and only one out. He gave up a run-scoring single to his first batter but retired the next two hitters on flyballs to get out of the inning. Most importantly, Middleton looked comfortable in his first major-league appearance in over 15 months, throwing eight of 14 pitches for strikes and hitting 95 mph on the radar gun. The 25-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery last May.
Middleton (elbow) was reinstated from the 60-day injured list Tuesday.
Middleton underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2018, but after completing his rehab assignment, he's been given the green light to return to the big leagues. He'll step into a bullpen role, where he found success a season ago, though a return to the closer role this season seems like a stretch with Hansel Robles performing capably. Through 17.2 frames in 2018, Middleton posted a 2.04 ERA and 1.30 WHIP with a 16:9 K:BB.
Middleton (elbow) could return to the majors during the Angels' upcoming homestand, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.
Middleton made another rehab appearance with Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, tossing two-thirds of an inning and walking one batter while striking out one. He has now made five appearances at the Triple-A level as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, hurling 4.1 innings and giving up one run while striking out five. Manager Brad Ausmus has previously indicated that Middleton is close to a return to the big club, so it stands to reason that his activation will come during the team's next homestand, which begins Tuesday against Texas.
Middleton (elbow) is scheduled for another minor-league rehab appearance Wednesday, Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Middleton hasn't pitched in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of last year, but he's inching closer to a return. He's made four rehab appearances over the past two weeks, posting a 6:2 K:BB across 3.2 hitless innings, and he could be cleared to rejoin the Angels after one or two more successful outings.
Middleton (elbow) may only require one or two more rehab appearances before being activated, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.
The 25-year-old's pitches hit the mid-90s in a rehab appearance Friday, and it appears as though Middleton could be close to a return from his injury. The right-hander has not seen major-league action since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May.
|Last 7 Games|
|05/04||vs BAL||W 5-2||0.0||0||1||1||0|
|05/03||vs BAL||L 3-5||1.0||0||0||0||1|
|05/01||vs LAA||L 5-10||2.0||2||0||0||1|
|04/28||@ HOU||L 5-7||0.2||0||0||0||0|
|04/24||@ BOS||W 8-2||1.0||0||0||0||2|
|04/20||vs LAD||L 0-1||1.0||0||0||2||1|
|04/17||vs HOU||L 0-1||1.0||0||0||0||2|
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2016||AFA-Inland Empire 66ers||36.1||25||0||0||1||1||0||56||20||22||3.74||1.163|
|2016||AAA-Salt Lake Bees||14.2||8||0||0||0||1||2||14||4||14||5.07||1.268|
|2017||AAA-Salt Lake Bees||12.2||10||0||0||0||0||2||8||4||11||2.95||1.230|
|2018||AAA-Salt Lake Bees||1.0||1||1||0||0||0||0||2||2||0||0.00||2.000|
|2019||AFA-Inland Empire 66ers||3.2||4||2||0||0||0||0||9||3||2||0.00||1.562|
|2019||AAA-Salt Lake Bees||4.1||5||0||0||0||0||0||5||3||2||2.19||1.220|