Gary Sanchez is running away in the American League Rookie of the Year Award race

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Another day, another two home runs and five RBI for Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. Sanchez tagged Rays starter Alex Cobb for a three-run home run in the top of the second inning and belted one off of Justin Marks, a solo shot in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s 11-5 win by New York. This on the heels of an RBI single in the first inning. Following his at-bats against the Rays, Sanchez is sitting on a .337/.410/.747 triple-slash line with 19 home runs and 38 RBI in 166 at-bats. He’s homered in four consecutive games now.

As a result, Sanchez made some Major League Baseball history in the process:

Sanchez was brought up for one start on May 13, going 0-for-4, then was sent back down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees brought him back up on August 3 and the rest is history.

Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin seemed to be the favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year Award before Sanchez burst onto the scene. FanGraphs lists him at 2.1 Wins Above Replacement, while Baseball Reference has him at 0.6. Sanchez, in roughly half the plate appearances, has respective WARs of 2.9 and 2.7.

Tigers starter Michael Fulmer and Astros reliever Chris Devenski also deserve mention. Fulmer has a 3.03 ERA and a 120/39 K/BB ratio in 148 2/3 innings, helping stabilize — with Justin Verlander, of course — what has otherwise been a shaky starting rotation. Devenski, in five starts and 41 relief appearances, has a 1.98 ERA and a 97/19 K/BB ratio in 104 2/3 innings.

But it’s Sanchez’s award to lose now. And it doesn’t look like he’s going to be cooling off anytime soon.

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.