Yasiel Puig has slowed down, but he’s still damn good

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Much of The Legend Of Yasiel Puig was built during his incredible first month in the majors, as the 22-year-old outfielder debuted on June 3 and hit a ridiculous .443 with eight homers and a 1.218 OPS for the Dodgers through July 2.

He’s come back down to earth in a big way since then, but here’s the thing: Even if you ignore that crazy first 30 days in the majors Puig has been really, really impressive for a rookie. Dating back to July 3 he’s played 60 games and hit .291 with eight homers and an .840 OPS.

By comparison, leading American League Rookie of the Year candidate Wil Myers, who like Puig is a 22-year-old outfielder, has hit .288 with 11 homers and an .811 OPS in 70 games for the Rays. So basically Puig hit like Babe Ruth for his first month and Myers for the next two months, which is a helluva way to come back down to earth.

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.