Pirates prospect Starling Marte homered in a second straight game Thursday against the Pirates, though he did make an out in his other at-bat, lowering his spring average to .692.
The 23-year-old Marte busted out from a power standpoint last season in Double-A. His OBPs were nice in previous stops too, but he went from going homerless in 222 at-bats in the Florida State League in 2010 to hitting 12 last year. Overall, he batted .332/.370/.500 in 536 at-bats.
A first-rate defensive center fielder, Marte might be ready to jump to the majors now, though the Pirates have already shut down those kind of thoughts, saying he will open the season in Triple-A. Once he does break in, it will probably be as a left fielder. Marte is likely superior to Andrew McCutchen in center, but McCutchen is pretty good himself and the Pirates won’t move their centerpiece to a corner so quickly after signing him to a six-year deal. A Marte-McCutchen-Jose Tabata outfield might be as good defensively as any in the majors.
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.