David Ortiz joins the 500 home run club

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Red Sox DH David Ortiz joined the 500 home run club on Saturday night with a two-homer performance against the Rays, belting No. 499 in the first inning against Matt Moore and No. 500 in the fifth inning. The first one was a three-run blast, staking the Red Sox to an early 3-0 lead. They’d tack on two more in each of the third and fourth innings, and Ortiz added the solo shot to lead off the fifth inning to make it an 8-0 game.

Ortiz now has 34 home runs on the season along with 94 RBI and a .271/.358/.542 triple-slash line. One more home runs would match last year’s total (35), and two (36) would mark his highest total since 2006, when he hit 54.

Ortiz is the 27th member of the 500 home run club. Eddie Murray is 26th with 504 in his career.

Here’s video of No. 499. We’ll provide video of No. 500 once it becomes available.

[mlbvideo id=”474026183″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

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.