Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman are “close to a resolution” on contract extension

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UPDATE: Apparently general manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t kidding about “working extremely hard” on an extension with Zimmerman, because Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the two sides are “close to a resolution.”

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Ryan Zimmerman has said that he won’t negotiate a long-term contract extension once spring training is over, so the Nationals are making a strong push to get something done before then.

General manager Mike Rizzo told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that “we’re working extremely hard at it, and both teams want something and are working at it.”

Rizzo added that he’s “hopeful” about an agreement being reached, although with Zimmerman under team control for 2012 and 2013 at a total cost of $27 million the Opening Day deadline doesn’t carry quite as much weight as it would if he were 162 games away from free agency.

If they can’t reach a deal now the Nationals can always give it another try next winter, although if Zimmerman stays healthy and has a big season the leverage and price tags might be very different.

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.