Lorenzo Cain could be out for the season

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Lorenzo Cain is likely done for the year, but he isn’t willing to rule out a late-season return just yet.

After weeks on the disabled list with a sprained left hand, the Royals’ outfielder returned to the lineup on Friday night and went 2-for-4, drawing a pair of walks and a single to center field in the team’s 7-2 loss to the White Sox. What appeared to be a step forward in Cain’s recovery process ended up aggravating the sprain.

Following the game, it was revealed that part of the outfielder’s pain may have been exacerbated by the stem-cell injection he received in his wrist on August 30, which should have strengthened the ligaments, rather than inflaming them. On Sunday, manager Ned Yost announced that Cain would sit out for another week before reevaluating his injury and deciding whether or not to push for a return in 2016, per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan.

If Cain returns to the lineup, it will be in a fairly limited capacity as the Royals compete for another postseason berth. Despite his injury, he still profiles as one of the best hitters in the Royals’ lineup, batting .287/.339/.403 with a 97 wRC+ and 2.5 fWAR in 103 games.

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.