Chase Utley has a mild concussion

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Chase Utley was hit in the head with an Eric O’Flaherty pitch in last night’s game. He stayed in, but was later pulled for a pinch hitter after complaining of a headache. Ruben Amaro said afterward that he has a “mild concussion.”

Utley was held back from joining the team on its flight to Milwaukee and will see a doctor in Philadelphia today.  The team believes that this is minor, however, and thinks that Utley could play this weekend. Obviously you don’t mess around with that kind of thing, and given the Phillies’ comfortable lead, an abundance of caution seems to be in order.

Here was the pitch, by the way. I didn’t watch the game, but I’m not aware of any bad blood or anything that would have led to this being a purpose pitch. Utley hadn’t done anything in the game except fly out a couple of times. At the time of the pitch there were two men on with two out in a tie game, so if O’Flaherty was truly trying to send some sort of message, it would have been oddly timed and unprovoked.

Obviously my view is that it is never appropriate to hit someone intentionally, so even if there was something in the past that “justified” this in O’Flaherty’s mind, it wasn’t justified in reality. But really, I can’t see anything here that would suggest he was hit intentionally. I would think the ball simply got away from O’Flaherty.

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.