The Nats and Astros need a change in Florida law to get their new spring training facility

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The Nats and Astros are just about ready to go on their new spring training facility in Palm Beach County. There’s only one hitch: a pesky little law designed to keep drinking water safe:

Moving forward requires the Florida Legislature to shrink a protective zone along the M canal, which borders the southern end of the proposed stadium and community park. The canal delivers water from the Grassy Waters Preserve to the lakes that the city taps for its water supply.

Shrinking the buffer zone alongside the portion of the canal that touches the proposed stadium site would allow room for creating grass parking lots that could double as community soccer fields outside of baseball season.

The buffer zone is currently 450 feet. They need it reduced to 50 feet. The West Palm Beach city commission is urging the legislature to act because spring training facilities = money.

At least they’re honest about that. By the time this turns into an actual proposed law and people start arguing about it, I’m guessing people in support of the change will talk about how ridiculous it is to think the larger buffer zone is needed for clean water, even if no one thought it was all that ridiculous when the most important consideration regarding that land was its impact on clean water. Indeed, I’ll bet people who didn’t say boo when the zone was created will suddenly start talking about how crazy a 450ft buffer zone is and that 50 is all that was ever needed.

But hey, baseball for six weeks a year is more important than drinking water, right?

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.