Craig Kimbrel notches 41st save, sets MLB rookie record

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Congratulations are in order for Craig Kimbrel.

According to beat writer Chris Cox of MLB.com, the hard-throwing rookie closer recorded his 41st save of the season in Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over the Nationals, setting a major league rookie record.

Rangers closer Neftali Feliz tallied 40 saves in 2010 as a rookie. Kazuhiro Sasaki, who had 37 saves in 2000 for the Mariners, held the mark before that.

Kimbrel, 23, boasts a sparkling 1.64 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 107/25 K/BB ratio in 65 2/3 innings this season. He hasn’t allowed a run — earned or unearned — since July 11 and hasn’t blown a save since June 8.

Barring a September collapse, Kimbrel looks to be favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year award. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, owner of an .819 OPS, should also draw a good amount of votes.

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.