Rangers GM says signing Prince Fielder is “very unlikely”

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Rangers GM Jon Daniels addressed the speculation that his team might be a serious suitor for free agent slugger Prince Fielder after Wednesday’s press conference announcing the Yu Darvish contract.

From MLB.com beat writer T.R. Sullivan:

Jon Daniels, off camera, on the Rangers chances of pursuing Fielder: “I’m intimately aware of our budget and it’s very unlikely.”

So while the door isn’t completely closed on a Fielder purchase, it sure sounds doubtful to happen. The Rangers just signed off on a commitment of nearly $112 million to Darvish and will soon have to engage in extension talks with outfielder Josh Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli or risk losing them to free agency.

The Nationals still feel like the front-runner for Fielder, who possesses a sparkling .929 career OPS and slugged 38 home runs in 162 games last season for the National League Central champion Brewers.

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.