Padres “have gotten more aggressive” trying to trade Yasmani Grandal

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ESPN colleagues Buster Olney and Keith Law both have sources saying the Padres are looking to deal catcher Yasmani Grandal, with Olney writing that they “have gotten more aggressive” in those efforts.

Grandal returned from a major knee injury to play well in 2014, hitting 15 homers and posting a .728 OPS in 128 games despite calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home.

However, his .225 batting average wasn’t pretty and apparently the Padres aren’t big fans of his defense behind the plate, which explains why they’d even entertain trading a 26-year-old catcher with 20-homer power under team control through 2018.

If the Padres trade Grandal they’d presumably turn to Rene Rivera as their primary catcher. He’s a 31-year-old journeyman who logged more than 125 plate appearances in the majors for the first time in his career this season.

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.