As reported late Saturday by FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with super utilityman Kevin Russo.
The 28-year-old was drafted by the Yankees in 2006 and has spent the past six seasons at various levels of their minor league system. He got a short cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2010, batting .184 with a .245 on-base percentage in 54 plate appearances.
Russo, a New York native, hit .284/.358/.351 with zero home runs and 15 stolen bases in 101 games this past summer at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He’s capable of playing second and third base, and can handle all three outfield spots, which makes him a decently valuable piece of organizational depth.
Russo’s deal includes an invite to spring training, though he’s doubtful to crack the Opening Day roster.
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.