Olney: Yankees “highly unlikely” to make a serious run at Mark Buehrle

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The free agent market opened for business less than a week ago, so Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is just getting started in his search for a starting pitcher.

He got in touch with the agent for C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt over the weekend and contacted Mark Buehrle’s agent Jeff Berry earlier today. Buster Olney of ESPN.com writes Cashman is just doing his “due diligence” as he gets his lay of the free agent landscape, but he also mentions that it’s “highly unlikely” the Yankees will make a serious run at Buehrle.

Interesting. This is the Yankees we’re talking about, so it’s impossible to rule them out on any free agent, but it sure doesn’t sound like Buehrle will be hurting for offers this winter. The veteran left-hander met with the Marlins today and his agent hinted last week that he could prefer pitching in the National League. While they may get priced out due to the competition in a weak market for free agent starters, Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com notes that the White Sox remain in the mix, as well.

Buehrle, who turns 33 in March, went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA over 31 starts this season. He has 11 straight seasons of at least 200 innings pitched.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle 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.