Braves trade Kelly Johnson to the Mets

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the Braves have traded Kelly Johnson to the New York Mets. In return the Mets are sending minor leaguer Akeel Morris to Atlanta.

Johnson is finishing his third tour of duty with the Braves. The second tour of duty ended when the Braves traded him to the Mets on July 24, 2015. That season ended a couple of months later, he became a free agent and signed back with Atlanta. Now he’s heading to New York again. It’s sort of like those diagrams of how the water cycle works that you remember from junior high science class. At some point he’ll evaporate in New York and rain down in Atlanta again to complete the cycle.

Johnson is needed due to the extended absence of David Wright. The Mets are also missing Lucas Duda and could be out one Juan Lagares for a while too. Johnson will likely take over third base duties but don’t be surprised to see him playing first and some outfield too. He’s hung around the majors for a long time precisely because he can play multiple positions, including second base and all the corners. He even played a game at shortstop for the Mets last year, but don’t expect that to be a common occurrence. On the year Johnson is hitting poorly (.215/.273/.289) but he’s been an above average bat the past two seasons. He’s 34. He’s played for eight teams, including the entire AL East, which is quite a trick.

Akeel Morris is a 23-year-old righty reliever who currently plays for Double-A Binghamton. In 154 minor league games he’s 14-15 with a 2.91 ERA. He has struck out 12 per nine innings in his career but has walked five per nine, so yeah. Binghamtom is giving him trouble this year. He has a 1.382 WHIP and a 4.62 ERA in 22 appearances.

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.