Cubs acquire George Kottaras from Royals

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Designated for assignment by the Royals last week, catcher George Kottaras has been traded to the Cubs for cash considerations.

Kottaras has posted some ugly batting averages over the years, including .180 in 46 games this past season, but he draws lots of walks with decent power and has topped a .700 OPS in four straight years. For a left-handed-hitting backup catcher that’s very solid production and he’ll likely play a couple times per week for Chicago behind starter Welington Castillo.

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.