How much longer can Cardinals stick with Jake Westbrook?

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St. Louis’ offense bailed him out yesterday, but Jake Westbrook turned in another poor outing by failing to make it out of the fifth inning against Milwaukee.

Westbrook now has a 5.97 ERA in 13 games since returning from a disabled list stint for elbow problems, including allowing 26 runs in 21 innings this month. And if anything Westbrook’s secondary numbers are even uglier than his 5.97 ERA since the DL stint, as he’s managed just 24 strikeouts compared to 30 walks in 75 innings.

For a team fighting to win the NL Central and avoid the one-game Wild Card coin flip how much longer can the Cardinals afford to trot Westbrook out to the mound every fifth day? Carlos Martinez is untested in the majors, especially as a starter, but he has a whole lot more upside and couldn’t be much worse if he tried.

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.