Kendrys Morales close to making Cactus League debut

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We’ve heard nothing but good things about Kendrys Morales so far this spring. That’s quite a contrast from this time last year, which Craig can vouch for first-hand. And while Morales has yet to make his Cactus League debut, he’s certainly moving in the right direction.

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Morales hopes to get into games during the week of March 18. He also notes that the 28-year-old hasn’t reported any soreness, swelling or pain in his surgically-repaired ankle.

Morales hasn’t played in a professional game since fracturing his lower left leg while jumping onto home plate following a game-winning grand slam on May 29, 2010. The 28-year-old switch-hitter owns a .284/.336/.502 batting line and an .838 OPS in the majors, so he could provide a major boost to the middle of the Angels’ lineup if he can return to form.

While we’re on the subject of Angels’ players who are rehabbing from injury, Mark Trumbo is slated to start at third base and bat cleanup this afternoon against the Giants. He played a couple innings at the hot corner on Wednesday, but these will be his first at-bats in a major league game since being shut down with a stress fracture in his right foot last September.

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.