Oft-injured Nick Johnson signs minor league deal with Indians

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Last offseason Nick Johnson signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Yankees, but after yet another injury wrecked season the 32-year-old disabled list regular has had to settle for a minor-league deal with the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

If healthy Johnson brings excellent on-base skills to the lineup, but that’s sort of like saying “if in shape Aaron Gleeman wears a size-32* jean.” No one has seen either in such a long time that it’s impossible to tell if they still exist.

Johnson is one of just 10 active players with a .400 on-base percentage in at least 3,000 career plate appearances, although “active” might be stretching things a bit. He’s played more than 100 games just four times in eight full seasons, including missing 138 games last season and 124 games in 2008 with wrist injuries and sitting out all of 2007 with a broken leg.

* OK, maybe a size-34. Whatever.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with 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.