Trevor Bauer pegged for Game 5 start

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As it turns out, starting Carlos Santana in left field was only one of the controversial decisions Indians’ manager Terry Francona made this weekend. Francona announced his plan to start Trevor Bauer in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday evening, only four days after Bauer pitched through an abbreviated start in Game 2 on Wednesday (per Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes).

Bauer was cleared to pitch on Wednesday after suffering an unusual finger injury during the ALCS, but faltered during the Indians’ Game 2 loss with two walks, two earned runs and two strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings and 87 pitches. It wasn’t an easy outing for the right-hander, who labored through 29 pitches in the first inning alone and exited in the fourth after giving up his sixth hit of the night, a line drive single to the Cubs’ Addison Russell. Both Bauer and Francona denied that the injury was to blame for the short start, but until Bauer tightens his command of the strike zone, the skipper will likely keep right-hander Danny Salazar at the ready.

With the series tied 1-1, Bauer’s Game 5 start could clinch a World Series win for the Indians if they take Games 3 and 4 behind Josh Tomlin and Corey Kluber, respectively. If not, they’ll be fighting to force a Game 6 and stave off the Cubs’ long-awaited title.

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.