Even though Anthony Rizzo had never started a game batting leadoff in any of his seven seasons in the majors, Cubs manager Joe Maddon decided to move him into the leadoff spot on Tuesday. It worked, as Rizzo led off Tuesday’s game with a solo home run to center field off of Mets starter Zack Wheeler. He finished 2-for-4 with an RBI double and an RBI walk on the night.
It was more of the same on Wednesday. Rizzo led off with a solo shot to left-center at Citi Field off of Matt Harvey, giving him two leadoff homers in his only two games as the leadoff batter.
Rizzo entered Wednesday’s action batting .253/.394/.489 with 14 home runs and 40 RBI in 287 plate appearances. Wednesday’s home run, his 15th of the season, marked his 148th as a Cub, moving him into a tie for 14th on the Cubs’ all-time leaderboard with Mark Grace.
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.