Max Kepler homers three times to help the Twins take down the Indians

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Twins outfielder Max Kepler slugged a trio of two-run home runs to help his club take down the Indians 12-5 on Monday night. Here’s home run number three:

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Kepler’s first blast came in the first inning off of starter Danny Salazar, giving the Twins a temporary 2-0 lead. He victimized Salazar again in the third inning, breaking a 3-3 tie with a two-run shot. Kepler went yard for a third time in the sixth inning off of Cody Anderson, pushing the Twins’ lead to 10-3. Kepler finished 4-for-6 on the night.

Joe Mauer deserves special mention as well. He went 4-for-5 with a walk and a solo home run, but he was overshadowed — understandably — by Kepler.

Kepler, 23, now has 14 home runs and 44 RBI on the season along with a .256/.332/.547 triple-slash line in 229 plate appearances. He’s the first twins player to homer three times in one game since Justin Morneau did so on July 6, 2007 against the White Sox. Prior to Morneau, only Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison did it for the Twins. Jim Lemon and Goose Goslin did it for the Washington Sentators, the team that preceded the Twins. Kepler’s is the 13th three-homer game in the majors this season.

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.