Mariners trade Rob Johnson to Padres for PTBNL or cash

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Designated for assignment by the Mariners last week, Rob Johnson has been traded to the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. Presumably something like $1.75.

Johnson hit .200 with a .282 on-base percentage and .302 slugging percentage in 534 plate appearances for the Mariners, which adds up to a .584 OPS that ranks third-worst in team history behind Brian Hunter and the legendary Mario Mendoza.

And while most catchers who hit that horribly are great defenders behind the plate, Johnson has more passed balls than anyone in baseball over the past two seasons despite playing about half as much as the average starting catcher.

He figures to serve as Nick Hundley’s backup in San Diego.

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.