Carl Pavano’s “other suitors are pessimistic and think he’s going back to Minnesota”

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This morning I wrote about how Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies leaves Carl Pavano as the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, but Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Pavano’s “other suitors” aside from the Twins “are pessimistic and think he’s going back to Minnesota.”

That jibes with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s latest report, which speculates that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is no longer aggressively pursuing Pavano.

Melvin told Haudricourt that he got in touch with Pavano’s agent yesterday, but “just to gauge interest.”

Pavano resurrected his career in Minnesota, going 22-15 with a 3.97 ERA in 44 starts for the Twins after coming over in a mid-2009 deal from the Indians, so it makes sense that he’d want to re-sign.

However, with the Brewers and Nationals also being linked often to Pavano–and the Rangers perhaps jumping into the bidding late after missing out on Lee–there was speculation that he could be in line for a three-year deal, which seemingly would have taken the Twins out of the mix. If instead he’s choosing between two-year offers, the Twins can indeed be viewed as front-runners.

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.