White Sox sign Al Alburquerque to minors deal

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The White Sox signed right-hander Al Alburquerque to a minor league deal on Friday. Alburquerque was released by the Royals last week and has made just 11 big league appearances this season. He has been assigned to the White Sox’ Triple-A Charlotte, where he’ll attempt to exhibit more consistency on the mound before making another leap to the majors.

Alburquerque, 31, has seen limited major league opportunities over the last few seasons. He picked up a minor league contract with the Angels to start the 2016 season, but pitched only two innings before being demoted to Triple-A Salt Lake and was finally released by the club in August. His last productive season came in 2014, when he developed a 2.51 ERA and maintained a career-best 3.3 BB/9 rate over 57 1/3 innings with the Tigers. In 2017, the right-hander issued seven hits, four runs and nine strikeouts over 10 innings with the Royals.

Whether or not Alburquerque will hit his stride in Chicago remains to be seen, but the acquisition is relatively risk-free for the White Sox, who are currently on the hunt for more bullpen depth. Even with recent additions like right-handers Danny Farquhar, Mark Lowe and Jean Machi, their relief corps ranks 12th among major league competitors with a collective 3.94 ERA and 3.2 fWAR.

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.