Chris Ray was one of the youngest closers in baseball in 2006, saving 33 games for the Orioles as a 24-year-old, but his career was derailed by Tommy John elbow surgery the next season and he hasn’t been the same since, posting a 31/25 K/BB ratio in 56 innings for the Giants and Rangers in 2010.
Ray is still just 29 years old and will try to resurrect his career in Seattle, signing a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times notes that he’ll be among at least 11 non-roster invite pitchers in Mariners camp, but speculates that “Ray appears to have a decent shot of making the team.” He has a 5.27 ERA in 99 innings since going under the knife, but Ray’s average fastball clocked in at 93.9 miles per hour last season and the Mariners will be sorting through several young relievers who’re short on experience.
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.