Matt Harrison turns down World Baseball Classic invite

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Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison has turned down an invitation to pitch for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, citing workload concerns.

“It was truly an honor to be asked to be a part of a team that represents our country, but at the same time I didn’t want to risk injury after throwing a career-high in innings,” Harrison told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas.

Harrison jumped from 186 innings (or 204 innings if you count the playoffs) in 2011 to 213 innings last season, so no doubt the Rangers are happy to hear the 27-year-old take that cautious stance.

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.