The Astros are calling up George Springer

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I wasn’t expecting this until June, maybe, but the Astros are going with the smart baseball decision over the smart financial decision. From Mark Berman at Fox26 Houston:

Major League Baseball sources told FOX 26 Sports the Houston Astros will call up outfielder George Springer from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Springer went 3-4 with a grand slam and four RBIs in the RedHawks 11-9 win in Colorado Springs Tuesday night. He is hitting .353 this season with three home runs and nine RBIs. Last season Springer hit .303 with 37 home runs and 108 RBIs while splitting time between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

He’s clearly ready for the majors. And maybe would’ve been there already, but the Astros seemed determined to use his time in the minors as a way to leverage him into accepting a seven-year, $23 million contract. Which, however cool that might be for a guy at least three years from a significant payday, would seriously undervalue him if he even comes close to fulfilling his potential. A gamble for Springer, sure, but given where salaries are these days, him getting less than $4 million a year as he goes through arbitration would be almost comically cheap.

It’ll be interesting to see if the sides do reach a long-term agreement soon after his callup, the way the Rays and Evan Longoria did when he finally reached the majors back in 2008. If so, it’ll add some credence to the notion that the Astros made Springer’s callup contingent on his accepting a long term deal. If not, it means that Springer called the Astros’ bluff and basically forced them to call him up via his fantastic play.

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.