Sheffield “disrespected” by Rays, now 99.9% retired

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Remember when Gary Sheffield showed up to the Winter Meetings and said he was just there “to advise” a couple of young players?  And then remember when he later admitted that he had an interest in playing again, specifically for the Rays?

You might also remember that Rays manager Joe Maddon took Sheffield out to dinner as a courtesy and to “get to know him,” but that the Tampa Bay front office did not want to add a 42-year-old who sat out for all of the 2010 season.

As expected, nothing ever came of that dinner.  The now well-run Rays don’t throw money at veterans, especially veterans that they have no use for.  Maddon was simply being nice in listening to what Sheffield had to say.

Yet, Sheffield went on to tell ESPN 1040 in Tampa on Thursday that he “felt a little disrespected” that the Rays never bothered to call him once the Winter Meetings ended.  The .292/.393/.514 career hitter said that he is now “99.9 percent” committed to retirement because his hometown team won’t have him.

That Joe Maddon is a real jerk.  Or something.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with 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.