Franklin Gutierrez finally on track with rehab assignment

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After missing most of spring training and the entire first month of the season with what was recently diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, Franklin Gutierrez finally began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma last night.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Gutierrez was in the lineup as the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a triple. He is scheduled to play five innings in center field in tonight’s game.

Gutierrez lost 15 pounds during his recent stomach issues, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge indicated Tuesday that he might not be far away.

“We’ll re-evaluate this weekend, see where’s he’s at,” Wedge said. “We’re taking it day by day right now. We’ll see how it comes together this weekend and go from there. See how much more time, if any, he needs.”

Entering play Tuesday, Mariners’ center fielders — mostly Ryan Langerhans and Michael Saunders — have combined to bat just .206/.310/.351 with three homers and a .660 OPS over 97 at-bats.

Gutierrez batted .245/.303/.363 with 12 homers, 64 RBI and a .666 OPS last season while winning his first Gold Glove award for his outstanding defense in center field.

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.