Pirates extend GM Neal Huntington through 2015

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Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates have signed GM Neal Huntington to a three-year contract extension with a club option for 2015. As is often the case with front-office deals, no financial details were disclosed.

Huntington was hired as the 12th general manager in franchise history on September 25, 2007, and has done a fine job of revamping the organization since taking over. The Pirates are improving their success rate on high draft picks, they’re more active on the international market, and they’ve begun putting a better product on the field at the major league level.

Huntington has misfired on a couple of trades, namely the Jason Bay swap, but the 42-year-old executive has also pumped $48 million into the draft over the past four years — by far the highest total in the major leagues. With a continued commitment to finding and cultivating young talent, the Pirates should be able to snap their streak of consecutive losing seasons by the time Huntington’s freshly inked deal expires.

The Pirates are also expected to retain director of player development Kyle Stark, director of scouting Greg Smith and director of baseball operations Tyrone Brooks. Bucs manager Clint Hurdle is signed through 2014.

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.