Red Sox have no interest in Matsuzaka-Fukudome swap

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Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune tweeted earlier today that the Cubs have been “kicking around” the idea of swapping outfielder Kosuke Fukudome in a package for Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka.  If the Cubs have indeed been exploring such a deal, they should stop now.

Whether you prefer MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman or Sean McAdam of CSN New England, the Red Sox are saying through a variety of sources that they have no interest in a swap.

Matsuzaka has struggled through the past few seasons in a Red Sox uniform and is probably going to be shopped around the league this winter, but Fukudome simply doesn’t fit with Boston’s roster makeup.

Fukudome is owed $13.5 million next season and would only serve as a platoon player in the Sox’s already crowded and talented outfield.

Rumor debunked.

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.