Former top prospect Lastings Milledge signs with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows

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According to a Sanspo report via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League have announced the signing of outfielder Lastings Milledge.

Former Athletics and Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker actually spoiled the news earlier this month, but the signing is now official.

Milledge will earn around $570,000 next season while his contract includes a club option for 2013.

It wasn’t too long ago that Milledge was considered a top prospect in the Mets’ organization, but his stock has plummeted in recent years. He actually made the White Sox Opening Day roster this past season, but was quickly designated for assignment in early-April and spent the rest of the year at the Triple-A level after passing through waivers unclaimed. The 26-year-old has a .269/.328/.395 batting line and .723 OPS over 1,659 plate appearances in the majors.

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.