Nats, Astros new spring training complex overrun with scavenging birds

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The Nationals and Astros will begin training in a brand new complex in Palm Beach County, Florida beginning in February. But there are already occupants on the site: birds. Hundreds of them. Trash-scavenging “fish crows” who hang around the site because it’s near a big landfill.

The story comes from Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, who has been providing updates on construction progress at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches (note: completion of the park is gonna really push up against the deadline). He spoke with a wildlife biologist who explains that the birds liked the flat ground near the landfill before construction and that, because these birds are go-with-the-flow types, they’ll likely remain common visitors to the place once people start eating a lot of smelly fried ballpark food there as well.

So, enjoy the new complex this spring, Nats and Astros fans. Just make sure you wear a hat and don’t look up with your mouth open all that much.

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.