Giants in search of a “big bat” and more starting pitching

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The Giants inked starter Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90 million deal on Saturday afternoon, but they’re not done yet. We learned earlier that the club is scheduled to meet with free agent super-utility man Ben Zobrist.

Additionally, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that the Giants are still in on free agent starter Mike Leake and “still like” starter Hisashi Iwakuma. They’re also looking to add a “big bat” such as Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

The Giants finished six games above .500 during the 2015 season and all of their important players will be returning. One or two more big adds could make them a legitimate National League powerhouse.

After signing Samardzija, the Giants have $137.5 million committed to 12 players, leaving them about $35 million shy of last season’s Opening Day payroll. Ostensibly, they have plenty of wiggle room with the payroll.

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.