Red Sox claim Max Ramirez off waivers from Rangers

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Last year at this time the Red Sox and Rangers were close to a deal that would have sent Mike Lowell (and some salary relief) to Texas for minor leaguer Max Ramirez, but the trade was nixed because Lowell needed thumb surgery in addition to his hip problems.

Lowell ended up staying in Boston and hit just .239 with a .674 OPS in 244 plate appearances as a part-time player, and today the Red Sox wound up with Ramirez anyway by claiming him off waivers from the Rangers.

Texas needed 40-man roster space after signing Adrian Beltre and Brandon Webb, and Ramirez is coming off an extremely disappointing season at Triple-A that saw him hit just .286 with three homers in 56 games.

Ramirez has put up some big numbers in the minors, but he’s been largely ineffective for the past two seasons, is already 26 years old, and reviews of his defense behind the plate suggest he’s more of a designated hitter than a catcher. Boston has clearly liked him for a while now and he’s certainly worth a waiver claim, but at the same time it’s tough to blame Texas for giving up on Ramirez.

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.