Jose Abreu extends his on-base streak to 29 games

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Someone should tell Jose Abreu the White Sox are out of the pennant race this season.

The 29-year-old has transformed his OBP in the last month after reaching base safely in the last 29 consecutive games he’s started. On Friday, with Twins’ right-hander Kyle Gibson on the mound, Abreu rocked a line drive into center field during his first at-bat of the night and now sits just one game away from establishing a new franchise record:

It’s a positive turn for the Sox’ first baseman, who found himself mired in a hitting slump during the first half of 2016 and was staring at a .262/.325/.413 batting line heading into August. Notwithstanding his current on-base streak, FanGraphs still puts him at a career-worst mark of 0.8 Wins Above Replacement (fWAR), well below the 5.3 fWAR he carried in 2014.

Abreu credits White Sox assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks for getting him back on track this season, according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times.

Once he told me that we created a routine to take advantage of my hands. And the results have been there. He saw something, he told me and we started working on it on a daily basis. That’s been the key for me.

Will his adjustments at the plate be enough to dig the White Sox out of fourth place in the AL Central? Unlikely. But Abreu’s hitting like there’s no tomorrow, and no matter where his team ends up this season, that’s something to celebrate.

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.