Jeff Keppinger out 3-4 months following foot surgery

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Earlier this offseason the Yankees were said to be talking to the Astros about trading for Jeff Keppinger, but those talks apparently fizzled and now the veteran infielder is expected to miss the beginning of the season following foot surgery.

General manager Ed Wade told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that Keppinger’s recovery time is expected to be 3-4 months, which likely means he’ll be sidelined well into April and could be a question mark for much of the first half.

Keppinger hit .288/.351/.393 with six homers and more walks (51) than strikeouts (36) in 575 plate appearances as the Astros’ primary second baseman last season, but with the trade for Clint Barmes and the signing of Bill Hall he was slated for a part-time role in 2011 even before the injury (which likely explains why the Astros were open to trading him).

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.