Jacoby Ellsbury returns after 16-game absence

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As had been expected, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is in the Red Sox starting lineup on Wednesday night against the Rockies for the first time in 16 games. He was diagnosed September 8 with a compression fracture in his right foot and there was some initial concern about whether he’d be able to return by the end of the season. But here we are.

Ellsbury, an impending free agent, was batting .299/.355/.424 with 52 stolen bases and 89 runs scored through 131 games this summer for the American League East champions. The 30-year-old client of Scott Boras is already in line for a massive payday, but a strong regular-season finish and productive October run would only help his bottom line.

Mike Napoli is out of Boston’s lineup Wednesday for a fourth straight game due to plantar fasciitis.

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.