Hong-Chih Kuo struggles in rehab appearance at Single-A

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Pitching in back-to-back games for the first time since being placed on the disabled list two weeks ago with a strained back, Hong-Chih Kuo allowed hits to four of the five batters he faced last night at Single-A.

Kuo had been slated to be activated Friday, but now Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that his return “is in doubt.”

His entire career has been filled with dominating performances in between injuries, but most of the previous problems have been arm-related and the Dodgers’ bullpen could really use him with Jonathan Broxton struggling and no one quite sure who should be closing games.

Kuo was nearly unhittable last season, throwing 60 innings with a 1.20 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio while opponents batted a ridiculous .139 against him. He has a 3.19 ERA in 268 career innings and his 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings lead all active left-handed pitchers.

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.