Francisco Liriano expected to sign with the Pirates

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Francisco Liriano has agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with the Pirates, according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Liriano was briefly booted from Minnesota’s rotation in May after posting a 9.45 ERA through six starts and then put together a fantastic two-month stretch upon rejoining the rotation, throwing 66 innings with a 3.68 ERA and 79/29 K/BB ratio before the Twins traded him to the White Sox for a pair of non-prospects in late July.

Liriano was mostly sub par in Chicago, posting a 5.40 ERA in 57 innings, and finished the year with a 5.34 ERA in 157 total frames. However, he racked up 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings and, as always, if someone can get Liriano to throw strikes consistently and trust his raw stuff the 29-year-old left-hander still has plenty of upside.

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.