Angels' Mike Napoli claimed by Red Sox, deal unlikely

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UPDATE:  Joe McDonald of ESPN.com is reporting that the Red Sox have claimed Napoli off waivers from the Angels but are unlikely to
trade for him by Monday’s deadline.

The Red Sox may have put in the claim to block the power-hitting Napoli
from reaching the Rays, Yankees and Twins, who could all use a little
pop.

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12:33 AM:  The Manny Ramirez negotiations aren’t very active at the moment.  But there might be another major waiver deal in the works.

According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, an unknown team has claimed Angels catcher Mike Napoli off waivers.  The Angels have until Monday afternoon to work out a deal with that claiming club.

Who might it be?  Well, probably a club from the American League.  Those teams get first pick and Napoli has a fairly high amount of value as a hitter.  In just 369 at-bats this year for the Angels he boasts a team-leading 21 home runs, 60 RBI and a .480 slugging percentage. 

Morosi notes that Napoli would make sense for Red Sox, Rays, Twins, White Sox and Rangers as a first baseman or designated hitter.  And he would also fit in Detroit, where the Tigers are seeking a starting catcher for 2011. 

It will take a decent prospect, that’s for sure, but a deal involving Napoli could most definitely happen either Sunday or closer to the Monday afternoon 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.