Jose De Leon slated for Sunday debut

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With Clayton Kershaw still a solid rehab start away from rejoining the rotation and Julio Urias‘ role changing day by day, the Dodgers will call up No. 2 pitching prospect Jose De Leon on Saturday, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

The call couldn’t come at a better time for the Dodgers, who have been neck-and-neck with the Giants through August. They’re clinging to a 2.5-game lead heading into Friday, but with 19-year-old sometime-starter Urias looking like the most stable part of the rotation right now, adding another arm should help solidify their place in the division race and give them some much-needed depth heading into the postseason. De Leon carries a 2.61 ERA and 0.93 WHIP through 86 ⅓ innings in 2016, beefed up by an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 111/20.

Speaking of playoff finishes, the 24-year-old right-hander has some experience with that. He bulldozed his way through a 13-strikeout performance with Triple-A Oklahoma City last weekend, reaching a season-best strikeout total and helping the Oklahoma City Dodgers to their second consecutive division title. Sure, it’s not the pressure cooker of a Game 7 start in the World Series, but his ability to keep cool in a high stakes situation should come in handy as he transitions to the big leagues.

De Leon is expected to make his major league debut during Sunday’s series finale against the Padres.

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.