Joe Kelly has saved the Cardinals’ rotation

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For most of this season the Cardinals did everything they could to avoid putting Joe Kelly into the rotation, using him as a reliever for the first three months.

Injuries finally forced them to move him into the rotation in early July and he’s been fantastic ever since, going 7-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts. And he’s done that while the rest of the Cardinals’ rotation has fallen apart, with Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch crunching the numbers to find that St. Louis’ non-Kelly starters have gone 19-18 with a 4.76 ERA during that same span.

Kelly’s secondary numbers are very underwhelming, including a 34/25 K/BB ratio in 58 innings and a .241 opponents’ batting average, but he’s served up just four homers in 247 plate appearances and has given up more than two runs just twice in 10 starts.

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.