Eli Whiteside, Yankees avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Eli Whiteside has agreed to a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Yankees, avoiding arbitration after being claimed off waivers from the Giants earlier this month.

Whiteside isn’t much of a hitter, batting .215 with a .608 OPS in 208 career games, but the 33-year-old has thrown out 31 percent of stolen base attempts and is more or less a prototypical backup catcher. He’s also shown signs of being a helluva linebacker and you never know when that could come in handy.

Even if the Yankees fail to re-sign Russell Martin it’s highly unlikely that Whiteside would be more than a twice-per-week starter, but he does give them a little depth at the position in the meantime.

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.