Smoltz hoping to remain in St. Louis

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John Smoltz finished his season on a high note while the Cardinals were being swept out of the playoffs, striking out five consecutive hitters in two innings of relief Saturday.
Afterward the 42-year-old impending free agent made it clear that he’d like to re-sign with the Cardinals, saying: “This would be a great fit. This would be a scenario that wouldn’t take too many minutes to make a decision.”
Given his age, injury history, and struggles with Boston earlier this season Smoltz obviously represents a substantial risk, but he certainly showed that he’s still capable of getting big-league hitters out after returning to the NL.
Between seven regular-season starts and Saturday’s postseason relief appearance Smoltz posted a 4.28 ERA and 45/9 K/BB ratio in 40 innings with the Cardinals.
Even including his time with Boston in the mix Smoltz had a 78/18 K/BB ratio in 80 total innings this season, which should be enough to earn him an incentive-laden one-year contract. Of course, assuming that another stint in the AL is out of the picture and a return to Atlanta is unlikely, Smoltz has just 14 teams to negotiate with. St. Louis seems like a natural fit.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.