Royals call up former No. 2 overall pick Mike Moustakas

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Figuring they’ve had so much luck with Eric Hosmer, the Royals have decided to try another top prospect, calling up Mike Moustakas after Thursday’s game.

There are a couple of differences here, though. With a .287/.347/.498 line, 10 homers and 44 RBI, Moustakas wasn’t tearing up PCL competition quite like Hosmer did before his promotion. Plus, Moustakas isn’t likely to be an asset defensively and may move to the outfield at some point.

That’s not to say that Moustakas isn’t an excellent prospect. He hit .322/.369/.630 with 36 homers and 124 RBI between Double- and Triple-A last year, and he’s just 22 years old now. He doesn’t quite have Hosmer’s ceiling, but few do.

The Royals wouldn’t call up Moustakas for a bit role, so expect him to supplant Wilson Betemit as the team’s everyday third baseman. What that means for Betemit in the short-term is hard to say. He’s slumped of late, but he’s still been one of the Royals’ better players this year with his .289/.348/.411 line and 23 RBI. Also, turning him into a bench player would wreck his trade value.

A trade does seem assured. Hopefully, it comes soon. There are plenty of NL teams in need of help at third base, and Betemit has earned his opportunity to play regularly.

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.