Jon Jay pitched, peaked at 66 MPH, and held the Brewers scoreless

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The Cubs got blown out by the Brewers on Thursday afternoon, falling behind 9-0 after three innings. As a result, manager Joe Maddon had outfielder Jon Jay take the mound in the top of the ninth.

Jay had never pitched before as a professional baseball player and it showed. His first pitch to Stephen Vogt registered at 57 MPH. His next pitch was even slower, 55 MPH, but he got Vogt to fly out to right field. Jay peaked at 66 MPH but managed to get Jonathan Villar to pop out in foul territory, then worked around a Domingo Santana single by getting Yadiel Rivera to line out to left field to end the inning.

Jay threw 16 pitches in total, averaging 57.2 MPH. Only four of those pitches were measured in excess of 60 MPH.

After Thursday’s 11-2 loss, the defending champion Cubs fell to 4.5 games behind the first-place Brewers. There’s a sentence I knew, before the season, that I’d be writing.

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.