Looper at home, 'waiting for an acceptable offer'

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Braden Looper “is doing all he can to stay in shape at home near Chicago, waiting for an acceptable offer” from the Dodgers (or another team, in theory).
Los Angeles was linked to Looper throughout the offseason, particularly once their other starter targets like Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland signed elsewhere, but Gurnick notes that the Dodgers are still only willing to give the veteran right-hander a minor-league deal.
Not only is Looper holding out for a guaranteed contract, he reportedly turned down an offer from the Nationals last month. All of which takes a lot of … well, let’s say courage, from a 35-year-old who had a 5.22 ERA in 194.2 innings last season while serving up a league-high 39 homers.
Looper was a full-time reliever until 2007, and since then he has a 4.75 ERA in 97 starts. In other words he’s a 35-year-old fifth starter coming off a terrible season and the Dodgers are willing to pay him as such, but Looper wants more. Good luck. Right now the Dodgers have Eric Stults, Scott Elbert, James McDonald, Charlie Haeger, Ramon Ortiz, and Russ Ortiz competing for the final rotation spot.

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.