Royals “pretty set” on starting Yordano Ventura in Game 2

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Royals manager Ned Yost announced that James Shields will start Game 1 of the ALCS against the Orioles, but he would only go so far as to say that he’s “pretty set” on Yordano Ventura for Game 2.

Ventura had an ugly relief appearance in the Wild Card Game, but the 23-year-old rookie bounced back with seven innings of one-run ball against the Angels in Game 2 of the ALDS.

During the regular season Ventura threw 183 innings with a 3.20 ERA while allowing just 14 homers in 782 plate appearances, including a grand total of one homer in his final 10 starts.

Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, and Danny Duffy are the candidates to start later in the series, but Yost avoided giving any clues about his plans beyond Game 2.

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.