Jed Lowrie, Astros avoid arbitration with one-year contract

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Jed Lowrie and the Astros agreed to a one-year, $1.15 million deal, avoiding a hearing in the infielder’s first season of arbitration eligibility.

Lowrie, who was acquired from the Red Sox for Mark Melancon in December, filed for $1.5 million while the Astros countered at $900,000.

They settled $150,000 below the midpoint, but Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the deal includes some incentives that could add to his $1.15 million salary.

Lowrie is expected to replace Clint Barmes as the Astros’ everyday shortstop, but his health and defense there are both question marks.

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.