The Red Sox have designated A.J. Pierzynski for assignment

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The Red Sox, with rumors of trading this or that player swirling, are apparently calling it a season. Or, at the very least, are trying something different than they tried heading into 2014. The move:

Pierzynski is experiencing his worst season at the plate since becoming a full-time big leaguer, hitting .254/.286/.348. Twenty-three year old Christian Vazquez has been called up. He and David Ross will be splitting catching duties for the duration, but it would make a lot more sense for Vasquez to get most of the reps.

Pierzynski is making $8.25 million this year. He’ll clear waivers and the Sox will be on the hook for the balance of that, but it’s unclear if any other team would want to take a chance on him. Worst case: we see A.J. working for TBS or Fox or whoever this postseason. He’s actually pretty darn good with that stuff.

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.