Willie Calhoun: Starting season at Triple-A was “a slap in the face”

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Outfielder Willie Calhoun is listed as the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect and No. 53 overall in baseball. He handled Triple-A really well, batting a composite .300/.355/.572 with 31 home runs and 93 RBI in 534 plate appearances with Oklahoma City (Dodgers) and Round Rock (Rangers).

Calhoun, 23, did struggle in his cup of coffee in the majors last September, batting .265/.324/.353 in 37 plate appearances. He also didn’t have the most impressive spring, batting .243/.282/.324 in 39 PA. But, as MiLB.com’s Gerard Gilberto reports, Calhoun felt that was “a slap in the face” for the Rangers to have him start the 2018 season at Triple-A instead of in the majors.

Of course, service time was the main factor behind that. As mentioned in this post on the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, once the schedule reaches a certain point in April, teams are assured of an extra year of contractual control over a player who has yet to accrue major league service time. The Rangers would like that extra year of control, of course.

Calhoun said, “I was really mad, just because I felt like I had nothing else to prove here at Triple-A. When you hear that you’re going back to a league after you had such a good year like that … I just kind of felt like it was a slap in the face.”

Calhoun has struggled to begin his 2018 campaign at Round Rock. Entering Sunday, he was batting .256/.275/.359 in 40 PA. But, in what was perhaps a sign he’s breaking out of his slump, Calhoun registered three hits and three RBI on Saturday, extending his hitting streak to six games.

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.