The Rangers are interested in Jim Thome

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Buster Olney reports that the Rangers are “actively trying to lure” Jim Thome to Texas.  I think all teams who negotiate with players are “actively trying to lure” them, but thank you to Buster for livening up the vocabulary on this Monday afternoon.

Thome would be an interesting fit in Texas. Like all big power hitters, you figure he’d love to mash taters in the Ballpark at Arlington.  With Michael Young hitting against lefties and Thome against righties, the Rangers would likely get more production from the DH slot than anyone next season (Young will get plate appearances from other positions too).  It’d be a great signing if the Rangers can “lure” him.

The only question is price. Thome says he wants to make up for what he didn’t make last season, when he was a bargain at $2 million.  Given that the Rangers paid Vlad Guerrero $5.5 million this past year, it’s not like they have some unlimited DH budget.  Of course, they’re gonna sell a lot more tickets in 2011. And Thome could be a difference maker for them.

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.