Report: Mariners sign Chris Herrmann to minor league deal

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Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto reports that the Mariners have inked free agent catcher Chris Herrmann to a minor league deal. The signing has yet to be officially confirmed by the club.

Herrmann, 30, completed a two-year run with the Diamondbacks in 2017. Despite racking up a career-best 10 home runs in the majors, the veteran catcher/outfielder finished the year with a disappointing .181/.273/.345 batting line and -0.7 fWAR in 256 plate appearances. His career averages are only slightly better: a .202/.278/.344 batting line, 22 home runs and 10 stolen base scattered across seven seasons. (It’s also worth noting that he’s never played more than 106 games in a single season before; prior to 2017, he had yet to make more than 60 appearances in any one major league gig.)

Still, the Mariners are in desperate need of additional catching depth with Mike Zunino still on the mend from an oblique injury. They jettisoned Triple-A backstop Tuffy Gosewisch on Thursday and are expected to utilize Herrmann as Tacoma’s primary catcher this spring. Per Curto, Herrmann has already been working out with the team and could be activated at any point.

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.