Alex Cora forgot to take J.D. Martinez out for a defensive replacement on Sunday

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The Red Sox rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to come from behind and beat the Rays 8-7 on Sunday, improving to 8-1. There was something a bit odd about the top of the ninth, though: J.D. Martinez stayed in left field instead of being replaced with a better defender. It didn’t end up mattering was closer Craig Kimbrel got a couple of pop-ups and a ground out to get the save.

Manager Alex Cora took the blame for not subbing out Martinez, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. He said, “I’ll be honest… the manager missed that one.” Cora added, “Why lie? I ask our guys to be genuine, transparent and responsible.”

As Drellich notes, Cora was caught up in the excitement of his team’s comeback that he just plain forgot to sub out Martinez. Cora also caught some criticism for not replacing catcher Christian Vazquez with a pinch-runner, but Cora says Vazquez is one of his club’s best base runners even if he isn’t the fastest.

It turns out Gabe Kapler isn’t the only rookie manager making mistakes in the early going.

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.