Jeff Samardzija keeps rolling, shuts out MLB’s top lineup

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Toronto has had by far the best offense in baseball this season, scoring 5.4 runs per game while none of the other teams are above 4.6 runs per game, but this afternoon the (admittedly short-handed) Blue Jays were no match for White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija, an impending free agent whose name has been popping up frequently in trade speculation, tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout on just 108 pitches.

He’s had a disappointing season and carrying a 4.93 ERA into mid-June certainly wasn’t what the White Sox were hoping for when they acquired Samardzija from the A’s, but in his last six starts he’s now got a 2.40 ERA and 39/8 K/BB ratio in 45 innings. And he’s thrown at least seven innings in 11 of 13 starts since May 1.

Samardzija remains one of the best pitchers likely to be available at the trade deadline.

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.