Brian McCann: “I’m definitely going to change my approach”

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Brian McCann had a disappointing first season with the Yankees, hitting just .232 with a career-low .692 OPS in 140 games after signing a five-year, $85 million contract.

He’s an extreme pull hitter and teams shifted a ton against McCann, who told MLB Network that he’s “definitely going to change my approach a little bit” next season in an effort to combat the shifts.

I think there’s definitely times to bunt. Maybe leading off the inning down four or five runs or [with a] man on first, no outs, try to start a rally. But, you know, as far as hitting the ball the other way, that’s something I’ve definitely done going into spring training and then a month into the season you look up and you sacrifice power and driving the baseball. Or at least I do. That’s the line I have to walk. I’ve hit a certain way for a long, long time.

It’s certainly valid for a good hitter to worry about his overall production declining if he were to change his approach trying to beat shifts, but when you’re coming off a season in which you got on base just 28 percent of the time working on laying down some bunts and slapping the ball down the third base line seems like a pretty reasonable change.

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.