A’s choose Brandon Allen as starting first baseman

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Brandon Allen has beaten out Kila Ka’aihue to be the A’s starting first baseman, at least for their opening game of the season in Japan.

Ka’aihue is still in the mix for playing time, but Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that manager Bob Melvin was unimpressed with his defense and prefers Allen’s combination of power and fielding.

Allen has already been traded twice at age 26, going from the White Sox to the Diamondbacks for Tony Pena and then from the Diamondbacks to the A’s for Brad Ziegler. He’s struggled in a few brief big-league stints, but has a strong minor-league track record that includes a .286 batting average, .401 on-base percentage, and .555 slugging percentage in 253 games at Triple-A.

One of the few nice things about the A’s blowing up the roster on the way to what is likely a 90-loss season is that they can afford to give extended opportunities to guys like Allen and, in his case, might end up finding a quality hitter who can stick in the lineup for several years.

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.