Lowe to start on Opening Day for Braves

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Derek Lowe, the pitcher the Braves were hoping to move in the offseason before parting with Javier Vazquez instead, was named the Opening Day starter by manager Bobby Cox on Sunday.
“He was our winningest pitcher,” Cox said. “Last year against Philadelphia [Opening Day] he pitched eight shutout innings and gave up two hits. And he’s a veteran.”
Lowe did finish 15-10 last year, but it came with a 4.67 ERA. No. 2 starter Jair Jurrjens, who might have been considered for the opening assignment if not for a shoulder injury that’s limited him in camp, went 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA.
Cox also said that Tommy Hanson would start the third game of the season ahead of Tim Hudson. Lowe is expected to be brought back for the fifth game, with Kenshin Kawakami drawing the nod in the sixth game of the season.

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.