Nelson Cruz accepts suspension, chooses from nothing but bad options

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirms Jon Heyman’s report that Nelson Cruz will accept a 50-game suspension rather than appeal:

I think “devastating” is a bit strong. He’s not the only guy on that team and the Rangers are a mere half game out of the wild card, but yes, it does have a negative impact on Cruz’s team.

The calculus for Cruz is understandable: if he takes his 50 games now he gets it all behind him. Which is kinda important for him personally, as he is a free agent after the season is over and having looming discipline would hurt his market. Of course, being a PED guy may hurt his market too — ask Melky Cabrera — but the lost time out of the gate is obviously a big hurdle for any team who might want to sign Cruz.

Of course, as Nightengale notes, this may hurt him with the Rangers too. They likely view this as a blow to the team and view him as acting in self-serving way by appealing. Bringing him back may not sit well with a decent chunk of the fan base. For Cruz there really weren’t any good choices here. If he appeals he’s a drug cheat denying reality and is hurting his value going forward. If he doesn’t he is seen as a bad teammate.

Gotta pick one, and Cruz picked one that I imagine most of us — and most players — in his situation would have picked.

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.