Report: Astros meeting with Yu Darvish

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The Astros are meeting with free agent Yu Darvish on Tuesday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Darvish met with the Cubs on Monday. Other teams with interest include the Twins, Rangers, Mariners, and Phillies, according to Heyman.

Adding Darvish would be quite the boon to the world champion Astros’ starting rotation, which already includes Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. Keuchel is a free agent after the 2018 season, however, so Darvish could be a hedge against losing Keuchel. Verlander is under contract through 2019 and has a vesting option for 2020.

Between the Rangers and Dodgers last season, Darvish put up a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings. He pitched well in his two starts in the NLDS and NLCS, but gave up nine runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 innings across two starts in the World Series against the Astros. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. (According to an anonymous Astros player, Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series.)

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.