Rays place Jeff Niemann on DL, call up Brandon Guyer

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As expected, the Rays have placed Jeff Niemann on the disabled list after he left Wednesday’s start with a strained back.

There’s no timetable yet for his return, but Niemann told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that the injury “is very frustrating.”

According to Steve Wiseman of the Durham Herald Sun the Rays are replacing Niemann on the roster by calling up outfielder Brandon Guyer from Triple-A. Guyer, who was acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade and is hitting .356 with six homers and a 1.018 OPS in 28 games at Durham, was informed of the call-up last night but an official move hasn’t been announced.

Not replacing Niemann with another pitcher signals that the Rays will likely slide Andy Sonnanstine into his rotation spot. Sonnanstine has plenty of past experience as a starter, but it comes with a 5.33 career ERA in 76 starts and he’s been far more successful as a reliever.

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.