Not so fast: Jim Crane’s approval as Astros owner put on hold

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Jim Crane was supposed to be approved as the new owner of the Astros at this week’s owners meetings.  Now Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal is reporting that the vote has been put on hold.  It’s possible that the delay is based on concerns over Crane’s business background.

These concerns are not new — Maury Brown cataloged them pretty comprehensively a couple of months ago — but they were not thought to be enough to derail Crane’s ownership bid.

Is that bid derailed, or is this just a matter of extra due diligence?  I suspect we’ll find out soon.

UPDATE: Literally one minute after I posted this, the following statement from Major League Baseball was released:

 “The standard due diligence that must be completed before any transaction of this magnitude can close remains ongoing.   Because that procedure is continuing, it is not expected that the proposed sale of the Astros will go to the approval process at this week’s owners meetings.  Major League Baseball will continue to work as expeditiously as possible to complete the process.”

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.