Matt Kemp thanks San Diego fans, takes responsibility for shortcomings at The Players’ Tribune

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The Braves acquired outfielder Matt Kemp from the Padres on Saturday for outfielder Hector Olivera in an exchange of bad contracts. Kemp left the Padres batting a slugging-heavy .262/.285/.489 with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances this season. While the 31-year-old Kemp’s arrival doesn’t change much for the Braves, who are out of contention, it did allow them some flexibility to pursue trading other outfielders like Nick Markakis and Jeff Francoeur, even if they didn’t materialize ahead of Monday’s 4 PM EDT non-waiver trade deadline. They could end up materializing by the August 31 waiver deadline.

Kemp penned a hello/goodbye column at The Players’ Tribune, detailing how he grew up a Braves fan and is excited to play for his childhood team. He also thanked fans in San Diego for treating him well since he arrived prior to the 2015 season.

The most interesting part of Kemp’s column was towards the end, where he takes responsibility for the way he has been perceived whether true or false.

To the city of Atlanta, and to all Braves fans worldwide, I want to make a vow to you before I even step into the box for my first at bat as a member of the team: After taking some time to reflect on my career, and the ups and downs I’ve experienced since my MVP-caliber season in 2011, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had begun to lose some of my love for the game. In so many ways, I got sidetracked from what I loved most about playing the game of baseball — having fun. I let a big contract, the Hollywood lifestyle, injuries and bad relationships tarnish the reputation I had worked so hard to establish. Sadly, I gained a reputation for being selfish, lazy and a bad teammate. While I may not agree with all the criticism I received in the past few years —and while I believe that a lot of it was unmerited — I take full responsibility for my shortcomings. And I promise you, Atlanta: Those days are gone.

The Matt Kemp of old — the kid who was the first at the park and the last to leave, the kid who would take cuts in the cage till his hands bled, the kid who would literally run through a wall for his teammates, the kid who was playing to win … not for a contract — that’s the kid who’s on his way to Atlanta. And the Braves of old will soon be the Braves of now.

Kemp didn’t owe anyone an explanation. But it’s big of him to take responsibility even while acknowledging that “a lot” of the cricticism was “unmerited.”

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.