Report: Nationals acquire Scott Hairston from Cubs

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Looking for another weapon to combat left-handed pitchers, the Nationals picked up Scott Hairston from the Cubs on Sunday night, a source told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

Rosenthal says the Cubs will get a minor league pitcher in return.

Hairston had to be expecting a bigger role than the one he found in Chicago after signing a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason. He ended up getting just 98 at-bats in the Cubs’ 86 games and hitting .163/.225/.398 with seven homers and 18 RBI. Last year, Hairston hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 homers in 377 at-bats for the Mets.

Unfortunately, Hairston isn’t looking at an expanded role in Washington, not as long as the team’s starting outfielders stay healthy. Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth are all everyday players, and the Nats aren’t going to pick one to start benching against lefties, although they do want to give Harper more time off as he deals with a sore knee. Hairston has no experience at first base, so he probably won’t be of any help there. However, he will be an upgrade over Tyler Moore as a late-game option off the bench.

The Nationals will be the seventh team for the 34-year-old Hairston. He’s still looking to go to the playoffs for the first time in his 10 big-league seasons.

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.