Allen Craig (knee surgery) aiming to play in game by May

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Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig told reporters when he arrived at spring training in Jupiter, Florida last month that he was hoping to be ready for Opening Day. But that never seemed very realistic.

Craig, who underwent surgery in November to repair a small fracture in his right kneecap, acknowledged Sunday to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest that he’s now resigned to the fact that he’s not going to be available at the start of the regular season and has shifted his focus toward being back by May 1.

The 27-year-old outfielder batted .315 with a .917 OPS, 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 219 plate appearances last season for the Cardinals before slugging four home runs and collecting eight crucial RBI in 37 postseason at-bats. He’s likely to see a lot of action in right field this year in St. Louis with Carlos Beltran or Jon Jay patrolling center.

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.