UPDATE: Reds, Volquez reach deal, avoid arbitration

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UPDATE: Mark Sheldon of MLB.com says this one is done.

Saturday, 5:37 PM: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Reds and Volquez are close to an agreement on a one-year, $1.6 million contract.

Saturday, 3:31 PM: Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier today that he expects to get a deal done with Edinson Volquez this weekend, most likely in the form of a one-year deal.

Volquez is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. He requested $2 million and was offered $1.3 million when arbitration figures were exchanged last Tuesday.

The Reds have made their arbitration-eligible players a priority this offseason, inking Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto to multi-year contracts and securing considerable cost certainty for the next few seasons. Just last week, it looked like the club was going to go a similar route with Volquez, but Jocketty told Fay today that the 27-year-old right-hander prefers a one-year deal.

It’s a calculated gamble on the part of Volquez, as he could command considerably more through the arbitration process if he bounces back with a solid 2011 campaign. That’s clearly the motivation here. He has been limited to just major league 21 starts over the past two seasons due to Tommy John surgery.

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.