Michael Bourn rumors intensify; Braves getting ‘more involved’

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The Astros might as well continue remaking the team after trading Hunter Pence to Philadelphia, so Michael Bourn could be the next to go.  ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick claims the “Astros’ efforts to move Bourn are picking up steam,” while FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Braves are getting “more involved.”

Bourn is hitting .304/.364/.405 this season, and he leads the majors with 39 steals in 46 attempts.  The Reds are also thought to be very interested in him as they look for a true leadoff hitter.

Bourn probably won’t bring as much in return as Pence, in part because he’s only under control for one more year.  He makes $4.4 million this season, and he’s probably looking at a raise to $7 million or so in his final year of arbitration next season.

It was reported earlier Saturday that the Braves were willing to give up left-hander Mike Minor in a Pence deal with the Astros.  If they’re willing to surrender him for Bourn instead, they’d be the heavy favorites here.  The Braves, though, could likely get Coco Crisp instead without surrendering a top prospect.  They’re also in the mix for B.J. Upton.

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.