“Raines is probably the best base stealer in the history of Major League Baseball”

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I have been slightly worried about Joe Posnanski lately. He set off last summer to write what was supposed to be a feel-good book about a feel-good guy — Joe Paterno — and then everything exploded on him while he was doing interviews and research in State College, Pennsylvania.

Sometimes I get images of him trapped in some central Pennsylvania motel room, slowly going crazy. Or totally off the grid into some sheer harrowing existence like Christopher Walken in “The Deer Hunter.”  At the other end of all of that is either going to be a Pulitzer Prize winning book or Posnanski in a straight jacket. Can’t see much in between.

But today we have a sign that things are OK for Joe: a 4000+ word Hall of Fame column, done in a way that only he can do. Once again he brings order and sanity to the Jeff Bagwell thing. To the Alan Trammell/Barry Larkin thing.  He explains just how rare and special it is for players to be truly well-rounded. Bonus: he trots out that quote from the headline above to remind us just how damn good Tim Raines really was.

It’s all great stuff. And on a day when, once again, absolutely nothing seems to be happening in baseball at all, it’s not like you got anything better to do.

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.