Evan Gattis could stay with Braves when Brian McCann returns

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Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is leaning towards carrying three catchers when Brian McCann is set to return to the Braves’ 25-man roster in a little over a week, according to David O’Brien. Gonzalez says Gattis “hasn’t given us any reason [to send him down]”, and also shockingly suggested he may use Gattis in the outfield while Jason Heyward recovers from his emergency appendectomy.

If McCann comes off the DL before Heyward, Gonzalez hinted that he could play Gattis some in left field and move Justin Upton from left field to right.

“But who goes down?” to open a spot on the 25-man roster for McCann, Gonzalez asked rhetorically. “But that’s nine, 10 days down the road.”

Though Gattis is only hitting .235 with a .293 on-base percentage, 11 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases — five doubles and six home runs. He has logged 37 games in the outfield in the Minors, mostly with Double-A Mississippi, though his defense is certainly a big concern for the Braves as they contemplate finding a spot for him in the lineup.

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.