The Athletics are likely to sign Manny Ramirez before spring training

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics are likely to sign Manny Ramirez just before or soon after the start of spring training.

Makes sense. Nearly-free offense, at least potentially, and for at least part of the season following Ramirez serving his suspension. Wacko serial PED offenders are the new inefficiency, you know.

Of course it would create even more of a logjam in the corner outfielder/DH mix in Oakland, what with Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes, Kila Ka’aihue and several others hanging around, but it’s not like anyone in that mix represents The Future of the Franchise, so why not try to catch some lightning in a bottle?

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle 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.