Rangers “going after” free agent slugger Manny Ramirez

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On Thursday, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes filed a report claiming that free agent Manny Ramirez would likely sign with a new team by the beginning of next week.  Now T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com is reporting that the Rangers are “going after” him.

A couple of other clubs have been linked to Ramirez, including the Angels, Blue Jays and Rays.  But Anaheim may prefer to give Vladimir Guerrero another try and the Rays are nearing an agreement with Johnny Damon.  If the Rangers really want Manny, Toronto looks to be their only competition.

And the Jays haven’t been overly aggressive to this point.

The Rangers committed to starting Michael Young at DH when they signed a big free agent deal with third baseman Adrian Beltre earlier this winter, but they can get Young more action at first base and move Mitch Moreland to a part-time role if Ramirez is brought aboard.

Manny posted a strong .870 OPS across 320 total plate appearances last season between the Dodgers and White Sox.  He still has some power and it could be showcased well at the Ballpark in Arlington if the 38-year-old is truly motivated.  He currently boasts a .315/.418/.486 career line at the cozy stadium.

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.