Report: Yankees, CC Sabathia to discuss contract this weekend

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Many have considered it a foregone conclusion that CC Sabathia will use the opt-out clause in his contract and hit free agency next week, but the Yankees are doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports that the Yankees “will be talking extensively” with the agent for Sabathia this weekend and into Monday, if needed, in order to keep the 30-year-old left-hander in pinstripes for the long haul.

Sabathia’s current deal has four years and $92 million remaining, but while he would have no problem finding a bigger contract in a weak market for starting pitchers, Marchand writes that both sides are “highly motivated” to get a deal done.

Whether an agreement can be reached before Tuesday’s deadline or not, Sabathia is expected to set the bar for the highest average annual salary for a starting pitcher. Cliff Lee, who signed a five-year, $120 million contract with the Phillies last December, currently holds the highest average annual salary at $24 million.

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.