Todd Helton lands on DL with stiff back, pulled hamstring

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Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who is sitting on two homers and 16 RBI halfway through the season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with back and hamstring issues prior to Wednesday’s game.
The Rockies called up quad-A slugger Brad Eldred to replace him on the roster and included him in the lineup for Wednesday’s game aganst the Rockies.
Helton, who has dealt with chronic back troubles for years, is believed to have injured the leg in batting practice last week. He had three straight two-hit games against the Red Sox from June 22-24, but he was just 3-for-22 since. He was without an extra-base hit since homering on June 15.
While Helton has been a mainstay in the Colorado lineup for 13 years now, the Rockies don’t lack for options in replacing him. The 29-year-old Eldred was hitting .267/.323/.575 with 22 homers in Triple-A, and while Colorado Springs is noted for being a great hitting environment, he was performing just as well on the road as at home.
Jason Giambi, who is batting .237/.385/.387 in limited action this season, also figures to see considerable action against righties. A straight platoon is unlikely, though. While Eldred is a right-handed hitter, he was actually performing much better against righties in Triple-A.
The Rockies also have Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta as alternatives. Hawpe, while strictly an outfielder as a major leaguer, started his pro career as a first baseman and got a refresher course at the position this spring. Playing him at first would make it easier to get the suddenly red-hot Dexter Fowler into the lineup against righties.
Iannetta is another who has never played first in the majors. However, he has worked out at the position and he got in an inning at third base during Tuesday’s game. He’s gone 7-for-19 with three homers and two doubles in his last five games.

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.