Blue Jays designate right-hander Jeremy Jeffress for assignment

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The Blue Jays went with an eight-man bullpen out of spring training in part so that they wouldn’t have to expose right-hander Jeremy Jeffress to waivers, but they are already changing course.

Jeffress was designated for assignment this morning after he allowed a solo homer and two walks in one inning of work in his season debut last night against the Red Sox. Veteran right-hander Dave Bush has been called up from Triple-A Syracuse and will replace him in the bullpen. The Jays are expected to move back to a more traditional seven-man bullpen once Brett Lawrie is ready to return from his rib cage injury.

Jeffress throws hard, but his control has kept him from establishing himself on the big league level. The 25-year-old averaged 5.4 BB/9 in the minors and has issued 32 walks in 39 2/3 innings in the majors. While the Blue Jays would be happy if he passed through waivers unclaimed, somebody will likely take him on as a project.

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.