The Nationals are expected to call up prospect Wilmer Difo

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Jayson Werth has a bum wrist and is expected to be placed on the disabled list. Not that interesting. More interesting? The guy they expect to take his place on the 25-man roster: top prospect Wilmer Difo.

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Nats are expected to promote Difo, who has only played 33 games above low A-ball. The infielder, who is 23, is as fast as anything and hit 14 homers last year. You can read a scouting report from the Baseball Prospectus folks here. Short version: he projects to be a good everyday shortstop for a contender someday.

What he is today is less-than-clear, at least on the Nationals. He has mostly played shortstop, but the Nats are unlikely to sit Ian Desmond. Danny Espinosa has hit really well. There has been talk of the Nats trading Desmond, but at the moment things are going well for the club. Maybe they’re concerned Anthony Rendon is never, ever coming back from the series of unfortunate events he seems to be suffering through.

Either way, and exciting prospect is heading to the bigs.

 

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.