Jason Heyward takes batting practice for first time since suffering jaw injury

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Braves outfielder Jason Heyward took batting practice prior to tonight’s game against the Padres, the first time he had done so since suffering a gruesome jaw injury a little more than three weeks ago, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Heyward was wearing a modified batting helmet for extra protection.

Heyward was hit in the jaw by a Jon Niese fastball in the sixth inning of a game against the Mets on August 21. He had been on a hot streak ever since manager Fredi Gonzalez moved him into the leadoff spot on July 27. He logged 12 multi-hit games out of 21 starts, including six consecutively from August 11-17. He had bumped his OPS up to .771 at the time of his injury.

O’Brien notes that there is no timetable for Heyward’s return, but the Braves hope he will be able to log some at-bats before the regular season runs out so he can be ready to contribute in the playoffs.

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.