Nationals “have expressed interest” in Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada

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Yu Darvish is naturally getting all the attention when it comes to Japanese pitchers possibly coming to America, but Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals “have expressed interest in” Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who went 16-5 with a 1.51 ERA this season.

Anyone who puts up numbers like that is worth taking a look at, but in this case Ladson writes that Wada “is often compared to Jamie Moyer” and Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker describes his fastball as topping out in the high-80s along with good off-speed stuff.

That lack of velocity makes it tough to get too excited about the 30-year-old southpaw’s excellent numbers in Japan, but Wada is still an intriguing option because, unlike Darvish, he’s eligible for free agency and won’t require a bidding war for his negotiating rights.

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.