Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte to be available in Rule 5 draft

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The Yankees added 2B David Adams, OF Zoilo Almonte, INF Corban Joseph, RHP D.J. Mitchell and RHP David Phelps to the 40-man roster prior to Friday’s deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, but they left switch-pitcher Pat Venditte off the list, making him eligible to be picked on Dec. 8.

It will be interesting to see if anyone grabs Venditte. The Yankees selected the ambidextrous pitcher out of Creighton in the 20th round of the 2008 draft, and he’s had a stellar minor league career to date. In 2010, he had a 1.73 ERA and an 85/14 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings in the Florida State League. Last season, he had a 3.40 ERA and an 88/31 K/BB ratio in 90 innings for Double-A Trenton.

The Yankees, though, made it pretty obvious through their actions that they never viewed him as a potential major leaguer. He was initially a closer in the minors, but the Yankees took him out of that role and treated him as a middle reliever beginning in 2010. They also brought him along ridiculously slowly; Venditte, who turned 26 in June, should have been challenged with Double-A in 2010 and Triple-A last season.

Because he possesses below average fastballs with both arms, Venditte, who uses a six-fingered glove on the mound, is more of a curiosity than a prospect. Still, some team may want to take a look at him next spring. It’d be fun to see him try to frustrate some major league switch-hitters.

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.