Kaz Matsui is drawing interest…in Japan

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The Rakuten Eagles are apparently interested in fielding a complete team of failed Japanese MLB veterans.

They already signed Akinori Iwamura and have discussed Kenshin Kawakami with the Braves, and now, according to a Japanese media report passed along by Jason Coskrey, the Eagles have interest in Kaz Matsui.

Matsui arrived with much fanfare when he signed a three-year, $20.1 million contract with the Mets in December of 2003, but never matched expectations stateside, putting together a modest .267/.321/.380 batting line over seven seasons. Now 35 years old, Matsui was released by the Astros in May after batting just .141 over 71 at-bats. He finished the season with Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies’ organization, batting .262/.331/.349 over 301 at-bats.

I honestly forgot how impressive his numbers were with the Seibu Lions prior coming over to the United States. Perhaps he’s a cautionary tale for those expecting big things from Tsuyoshi Nishioka?

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.