Report: Braves sign Kris Medlen to minor league deal

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Veteran right-hander Kris Medlen is reportedly returning to the majors on a minor league deal with the Braves, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien writes. Medlen’s option was declined by the Royals last November.

Medlen, 31, labored through 24 1/3 innings and a 7.77 ERA in six starts for the Royals last spring. The remainder of his season was lost to a bout of rotator cuff inflammation in his right shoulder, the latest in a long history of injuries that includes two Tommy John surgeries. He last pitched a full season with the Braves in 2013, touting a 3.11 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 over 197 innings.

Per O’Brien’s report, the deal does not include an invitation to spring training. Earning a major league job doesn’t appear to be out of the question, but Medlen is expected to spend additional time rehabbing his shoulder and refining his mechanics before making any big strides on the mound. While there’s no timetable for his return to the majors, it’s a huge step forward for the righty, who was supposedly contemplating retirement after cutting ties with the Royals during the offseason. Via O’Brien:

I’m giving it a go and Coppy (Braves general manager John Coppolella) and Co. are being patient and 100 percent supportive,” Medlen said. “Couldn’t be happier about the situation compared to where I was mentally about four months ago.

The contract has yet to be confirmed by the team.

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.