Heath Bell is in The Best Shape Of His Life

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Veteran relief pitcher Heath Bell agreed to a minor league contract with the Nationals on December 22 and has spent the final two months of the offseason on a strict diet and workout program, dropping nearly 40 pounds from his typical playing weight of 250.

Bell is now in … The Best Shape Of His Life.

MLB.com’s Jamal Collier has the story

Bell was one of the early Nationals to arrive Wednesday, a day before the club’s pitchers and catchers were set to report, and he tossed batting practice to two of his sons in the cages. He was noticeably thinner, prompting someone nearby to say, “I honestly had no idea that was Heath Bell.”

Bell’s minor league contract with the Nats will pay him $1 million while he’s in the majors. The 37-year-old right-hander surrendered 16 runs — 14 earned — in 17 1/3 innings of relief last season with the Rays.

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.