Reds finalize deal with Gary Matthews Jr.

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The Reds did what we’ve been expecting them to do for a week on Thursday, finalizing a minor league deal with veteran outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. and sticking him in Triple-A Louisville.  This according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.

Matthews Jr. was released by the Mets in mid-June after posting a .190 batting average, .260 on-base percentage and .241 slugging percentage over his first 58 at-bats.  It’s no surprise that he struggled in New York, and it won’t be surprising when he fails to perform for the Reds.  He’s just not a very good baseball player these days, and hasn’t been for a while.  Measure it any way you want. 

But Reds GM Walt Jocketty doesn’t seem to agree:

“In the past, he showed that if he plays a lot, he’s a better
player.  He hasn’t had that
opportunity with the Angels or Mets the last couple of years.”

Wait, Walt, are you saying the Reds are going to give him that opportunity?  To play  “a lot?”  Have fun with this one, Cincinnati fans.

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.