The A’s seem to be leaning towards platooning Billy Butler

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Billy Butler remained out of the Athletics’ lineup on Sunday and won’t be back in there on Monday when they take on the Angels. Right-hander Nick Tropeano will start for the Halos, marking the fourth day in a row the A’s will face a right-handed starter.

This seems to point towards a platoon, but A’s manager Bob Melvin didn’t admit to it. Via MLB.com’s Jane Lee, Melvin said that Butler would be in the lineup on Tuesday, when lefty Hector Santiago will start for the Angels.

“That’s a tough one right now,” Melvin said Sunday morning. “That’s going to be a day-to-day proposition. I communicated with him where we are right now.”

Butler doubled twice on Opening Day and is 3-for-10 to start the season. However, the soon-to-be 30-year-old hit a disappointing .251 with 15 home runs in 601 plate appearances last year after signing a three-year, $30 million contract.

In terms of OPS, Butler has hit lefties over 100 points better than righties last year, with respective marks of .887 and .765. That being said, Butler actually hit same-handed pitching better in 2015, with a .722 OPS versus righties and .687 versus lefties.

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.