Quotes of the Day: Barry Zito and Prince Fielder

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Yesterday the Giants faced the half of the Brewers squad that wasn’t facing the Cubs over at HoHoKam.  In that game, a nearly two-year old grudge continued to play out as Prince Fielder and Barry Zito jawed at one another after Zito walked Fielder.

The grudge, of course, is based on Fielder’s infamous “bowling ball” celebration after he hit a walkoff homer against the Giants in 2009. In response, Zito plunked Fielder in a spring training game last March.  Yesterday’s little back and forth came after Zito walked toward home plate following his walk to Fielder to ask the ump what was wrong with the pitch that was called ball four.

Like any rivalry, however, this one has gotten more refined and enjoyable over time.  For evidence, just look at what they said to Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel about the incident after the game yesterday:

“I asked the umpire if it was a ball or a strike and Prince was letting me know it was a ball,” said Zito. “We talked a little bit. Asked how his off-season went. How’s the family? No new tats (tattoos).”

Fielder had a different recollection of the chat though equally fictional.

“We have the same agent (Scott Boras) so we were talking about going out to dinner. I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

After which they shared some tea.

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.