Brewers agree to $2.35 million deal with Nyjer Morgan to avoid arbitration

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Nyjer Morgan and the Brewers have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $2.35 million, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

Morgan began last season in a backup role for the Brewers after coming over in spring training trade from the Nationals, but Carlos Gomez’s injury opened up the door for him to become the starting center fielder and Morgan hit .304 with a .778 OPS in 119 games.

He was arbitration eligible for the first time after earning $450,000 in 2011, so Morgan gets a five-fold raise and will be under team control for two more seasons. Milwaukee previously avoided arbitration with Gomez by signing him for $1.95 million, but Morgan is expected to be the Opening Day starter.

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.