A Blue Jays prospect spends his offseason surfing, living in his van and traveling around

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Josh Jackson of MiLB.com has a great story about Blue Jays’ pitching prospect Daniel Norris. Norris spends his offseason living out of his van, wandering around the country hiking, camping, surfing and generally enjoying a solitary, nomadic existence in which he seeks to commune with nature and stay true to himself and the things he loves.

So, naturally, that makes him an oddball in baseball circles:

“[The Blue Jays] have expressed concern as far as living in the van. For them, it’s just, ‘Why?’ They’ve kind of said, ‘Well, we don’t think that’s a very good idea.’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, I’ve been doing stuff like this my whole life,'” explained Norris, who, in addition to surfing and hiking, is an avid mountain biker and rock climber and also ranks as MLB.com’s No. 25 overall prospect.

“They’ve kind of said, ‘Well, OK, but we don’t get it,’ and I’m kind of like, ‘I don’t expect you to get it — that’s OK.'”

Square pegs don’t fit will in baseball’s round holes. Ask Jim Bouton or Bill Lee or Zack Greinke or any number of other players whose primary off-field interests aren’t hunting or fishing or fast cars or nightclubs. They don’t get why a 21-year-old guy like Norris may want to road trip his way through the offseason but don’t bat an eye when a single player in his 20s with no kids buys a 10,000 square foot house in a suburban golf community. Ask yourself: which of those behaviors are weirder for a guy in his 20s?

Of course, baseball does just fine with guys who go 12-2 with a 2.53 ERA and strike out 11.8 batters per nine innings across three minor league levels for which is they are very young. As long as Norris does stuff like that, I’m sure the Jays will not take much of an issue with him living in a VW van and wandering the Earth.

(Thanks to Moses for the heads up)

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.