Nationals to designate right-hander Yunesky Maya for assignment

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The Nationals thought they were getting a potential rotation staple when they signed Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya to a four-year, $6 million deal back in 2010, but they are now prepared to turn the page.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, the Nationals will designate Maya for assignment in order to make room for infielder Jeff Kobernus on the active roster. The 31-year-old right-hander was called up from Triple-A Syracuse this week when the Nationals needed a fresh arm for their bullpen and allowed the walkoff homer to Pablo Sandoval on Tuesday night.

The Nationals haven’t gotten much bang for their buck out of Maya, as he owns a disappointing 5.80 ERA and 27/21 K/BB ratio in 59 innings in the majors and a 4.41 ERA over 63 starts in the minors. Because of his salary, he’ll almost certainly pass through waivers unclaimed, but the Nationals will have the option to send him back to their rotation at Triple-A or cut him loose.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle 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.