Tony La Russa to decide on future within two weeks of World Series

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Next season probably isn’t even on Tony La Russa’s mind right now, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the 67-year-old manager and the Cardinals must both decide whether to exercise their half of a mutual contract option within two weeks of the World Series ending.

When asked if he knew La Russa’s plans, general manager John Mozeliak said: “I think I have an idea of his thinking.”

Strauss quotes “many close to La Russa” as saying they expect him to return for a 17th season with the Cardinals regardless of what happens in the World Series and Mozeliak pointed out that “he does appear to be having fun … enjoying this run and enjoying this team.”

La Russa is also just 35 wins from passing John McGraw for second place on the all-time list behind Connie Mack and would likely receive a raise from his current $5 million salary, which is already the highest in baseball.

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.