A.J. Pierzynski will fight a guy for you

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A.J. Pierzynski was introduced as the Braves’ latest acquisition yesterday, and he was in character. From Mark Bowman of MLB.com:

“I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win,” Pierzynski said. “If you need me to fight the guy, I’ll fight the guy. I’ll do whatever it takes because I want to win the game. For three hours, I don’t care who is pitching [against my team]. Mark Buehrle is one of my good friends. But when we’re facing him, I want to kill him. Then afterwards, we’ll go out and get a beer.”

That pretty much captures what Pierzynski has been about his whole career. He probably does the back-and-forth thing better than a lot of players, which is part of why he’s always been more polarizing, but you don’t last in baseball until you’re 38 if people within the game think you’re a complete jackass. At least you don’t if you’re not a superstar. Which is to say that, while a lot of fans hate Pierzynski, people inside the game probably grok what he’s all about.

He is rather fascinating, though. Probably the closest thing baseball has to a hockey goon. Put some glasses on him and he’s a Hanson Brother.

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.