Anderson Espinoza to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Padres’ top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza is set to undergo Tommy John surgery, the team confirmed Friday. Espinoza was diagnosed with forearm tightness in early April and had only been throwing for a month before he was shut down again with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, Dr. Keith Meister will perform the surgery in Dallas sometime over the next week, though the club has yet to announce a specific date.

Espinoza, 19, was acquired by the Padres last July in a controversial trade for left-hander Drew Pomeranz. He entered the 2017 season ranked No. 1 in the Padres’ system (by Baseball America; Baseball Prospectus has him at No. 2 and MLB.com has him at No. 6) and was projected to be an eventual front-end starter for the club. While his timetable has been considerably pushed back, he showed promise after advancing to Single-A Fort Wayne in 2016, delivering a 4.38 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.5 SO/9 over 76 innings.

Without Espinoza, at least for the next year (or more), the Padres still have a deep pool of pitching prospects to draw from. MLB.com ranks left-hander Mackenzie Gore and right-hander Cal Quantrill in the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively, and Bill Center points out that Quantrill has made a successful, if limited return after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015. Right-hander Michel Baez and southpaws Adrian Morejon, Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi comprise the rest of the pitchers in the Padres’ top 10 prospect list, though few share Espinoza’s high ceiling.

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.