The Indians may be getting a new setup man.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, free agent reliever Chad Durbin has been talking recently with Cleveland’s front office and an agreement between the two sides could be just days away.
Durbin was thought to be holding out for offers from contending clubs, but spring training is officially underway now and exhibition games begin this weekend. He probably has a desire to get into a camp and begin readying himself for the season.
The 33-year-old right-hander posted a 3.80 ERA and struck out 63 batters against 27 walks last season in 68.2 frames of relief work for the Phillies. He will likely operate in the seventh and eighth innings behind closer Chris Perez in Cleveland. If Durbin does well enough, perhaps a contender will come calling mid-summer.
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.