Braves, Martin Prado avoid arbitration with one-year, $4.75 million deal

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves and Martin Prado have avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year, $4.75 million contract.

Prado, who is under team control through 2013, earned $3.1 million last season while batting .260/.302/.385 with 13 homers, 57 RBI and a .687 OPS over 590 plate appearances while making 90 starts in left field, 35 at third base and two at first base. The 28-year-old missed more than a month with a staph infection in his right leg and batted just .244 with a .622 OPS upon his return in mid-July, so it’s possible he may have rushed back too soon.

We’ve heard plenty of trade rumors involving Prado this offseason, most notably with the Rockies and Orioles, but barring any last-minute deals, he’ll open 2012 as the Braves’ starting left fielder.

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.