Jed Lowrie avoids arbitration with Astros for $2.4 million

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Jed Lowrie and the Astros have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2.4 million contract.

Acquired from the Red Sox last offseason, Lowrie was arbitration eligible for the second time after hitting .244 with 16 homers and a .769 OPS in 97 games as the Astros’ starting shortstop.

As usual he was productive when in the lineup but missed big chunks of time with injuries. Lowrie has one more season under team control before becoming a free agent, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Astros try to sign the oft-injured switch-hitter long term or shop him for younger talent before July 31.

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.