Red Sox’ playoff push won’t include Moncada

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With 22 games left in the season, the Red Sox have shifted their focus from prospect development to playoff contention, and no one is feeling the brunt of that decision more than third baseman Yoan Moncada.

Moncada, who was called up in mid-August to supplant Travis Shaw at the hot corner, went 4-for-18 with 11 strikeouts in six games with Boston. During Friday night’s 13-3 showdown against the Blue Jays, Shaw replaced Moncada at third base, while the 21-year-old rookie slotted in as a pinch-runner for David Ortiz in the eighth inning and struck out in the ninth.

As the Blue Jays lurk two games behind the Red Sox in the division standings, keeping Moncada in a full-time role wasn’t an option for manager John Farrell, who hopes that the club’s top prospect will gain some valuable insights by observing the team down the home stretch.

Yoan’s arrival here was driven by looking to get production out of third base. As he got here, things turned around. Travis has swung the bat well, much like he did the first month or six weeks of the season. When he’s in this type of run offensively, he’s got a bat that can almost carry the team when he gets hot.

Shaw looks poised to regain his place in the infield after going 6-for-13 with two home runs and nine RBI during Moncada’s trial period, the only bright spot in a second-half slump that saw him batting .218/.295/.435 since the All-Star break.

It’s not the last we’ll see of Moncada in 2016, as the rookie infielder reportedly still has a place on the Sox’ bench through the end of the regular season. With Aaron Hill and Travis Shaw spearheading the platoon at third base, however, we’ll likely have to wait until spring to see Moncada reach his full potential in the AL East.

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.