Angels picking up search for catcher, target Reds’ Ryan Hanigan

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Not long after ESPN’s Buster Olney mentioned earlier tonight that the Angels have “intensified their search for a catcher,” did Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com report that the Reds’ Ryan Hanigan is one potential trade target.

Hanigan, 31, batted .267/.356/.357 with six home runs, 31 RBI and a .714 OPS over 304 plate appearances this season while throwing out 35 percent of would-be basestealers. He signed a three-year, $4 million extension with the Reds in February, covering his first two years of arbitration, and is under team control though 2014.

Rosenthal writes that the Reds could re-sign free agent catcher Ramon Hernandez if they deal Hanigan, but chances are he would likely only serve as a short-term bridge for prospects Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal. The 35-year-old could find a more attractive multi-year offer elsewhere, especially now that he’s been downgraded to a Type B free agent as a result of MLB’s new CBA agreement.

As of now, the Angels have Hank Conger, Bobby Wilson and Jeff Mathis on their 40-man roster, though the latter is considered a non-tender candidate. With that out of the way, feel free to leave your best Mike Napoli jokes in our comments section.

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.