Angels release Scott Kazmir after latest horrible rehab start

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Scott Kazmir reached the end of the line with the Angels on Wednesday.  After giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday night, he was placed on release waivers by the club, which is prepared to eat the approx. $9.5 million he’s still owed.

After Kazmir struggled throughout spring training and then got lit up for five runs in 1 2/3 innings in his one regular-season start, the Angels stashed him on the DL in April, hoping he’d rediscover his form after a brief break.  Kazmir, though, wasn’t able to recover, even after a month and a half rest from working in games.  He had a 17.02 ERA in his five rehab starts for Salt Lake.

Kazmir ends his Angels career having gone 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA in 35 starts.  Those results cost the Halos $22.5 million and the three players they sent to the Rays in trade in Aug. 2009: Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney.

Once Kazmir clears waivers, he should be pretty popular with teams looking to bolster their pitching depth. It wouldn’t be surprised if both the Red Sox and Yankees, who saw Kazmir at his best plenty of times when he pitched for the Rays, come calling.  He’s a mess right now — his delivery needs an overhaul, not just a tweek or two — but he might not be an entirely lost cause.

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.