Luis Ayala chooses Mexico over Orioles’ Triple-A team

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Veteran reliever Luis Ayala opted out of his minor-league contract with the Orioles last week and became a free agent because they wouldn’t call him up to the majors, and now Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports that the 36-year-old right-hander will pitch in the Mexican League.

Ayala is from Mexico, so it’s possible that he had some other Triple-A offers and simply decided to head home rather than keep grinding away in the International or Pacific Coast Leagues.

Ayala looked washed up 4-5 years ago, but then he posted a 2.58 ERA in 164 innings from 2011-2013. Yet despite that good work no teams ever seemed to really trust him as a bullpen option, so he bounced around and now couldn’t get back to the big leagues.

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.