Juan Cruz signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies last month, but failed to report to camp yesterday because of what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. called a “miscommunication issue.”
It must have been one helluva miscommunication, because Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Cruz and the Phillies have agreed to “mutually rescind” his contract–which was never officially signed because he didn’t take a physical exam–and the 34-year-old reliever is now a free agent again.
Cruz’s deal included an invitation to spring training and an opt-out clause that allowed him to leave the organization if he wasn’t in the majors by June 1, but apparently he was pessimistic about his odds of making the team after the Phillies signed Chad Durbin. Last season the Pirates released Cruz in August despite a 2.78 ERA in 36 innings because he refused an assignment to the minors.
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.