Shin-Soo Choo aiming to play Monday night

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Shin-Soo Choo was held out of the Reds’ lineup on Saturday and is not playing Sunday due to a jammed left thumb that he suffered Friday night in Pittsburgh when he tried to beat out an infield single by diving into first base. But the situation is rapidly improving.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that X-rays turned up negative Sunday morning on Choo’s left thumb and he is aiming to return to action for Monday night’s series-opener against the Mets back at Great American Ballpark. “That eased my mind,” Choo said of the negative X-ray results. “Was worried.”

Choo is hitting .283/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 105 runs scored in 148 games this season. The Reds open play Sunday as a veritable lock for one of the National League Wild Card spots.

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.